The three button midnight blue mohair is in order, a light blue Oxford cotton button down shirt is laundered, ironed and ready to go. The Bass Weejun loafers are polished and slipped onto your feet. You give yourself a quick once over in the mirror, click your fingers and you're away. A sharp modernist on the town looking for kicks, and soundtracked by the comeback of the year. THE RETURN OF MOD JAZZ.
It's been a while, but we are glad to tell you that the original purveyors of the sharp mixture of jazz, latin and R&B sounds is back on the street, with the sort of music that many of the young pretenders would kill to put within their covers. What stronger message of intent could you be laying down than the pictures of Oscar Brown Jr stripy shirt, fingers snapping and Gene McDaniels black suit, cuffs just so with some fine links. Are they on the album? You bet! Oscar working his way through his mod anthem Humdrum Blues while Gene appears with the amazing latin soul of Sweet Lover No More, a single he released on Columbia just before he went to Atlantic to dress up in radical-chic outfits and upset the vice-president of the USA.
Regular purchasers of the series will be aware that mod jazz doesn't really sit at the high church of jazz appreciation, but rather we plough our own furrow, going with whatever we think has a distinctly jazzy flavour. Of course we are big fans of a vocals and Hammonds, and on this volume we remain firm friends of both. For those who love a touch of the big H we have Clarence Armstrong's Money rarity the Beaver, his cousin Hank Jacobs both with and without the TKOs, Red Holloway with Jack McDuff, Bill Doggett and Timmy Thomas confusing us all as he urges us to Have Some Boogaloo.
Vocally we have some of the finest, Oscar and Gene of course and George Benson and Mose Allison, whose laconic I Love The Life I Live was a big influence on Georgie Fame. Also from this side of the tracks we have Them Blues by Billie Poole which, so I'm told is picking up some plays in the clubs right now. And we have our own special discovery in the blistering big horned R&B of the Swinging Tomatoes' Get It.
Elsewhere we let Mongo Santamaria, Pucho and the Afro Blue Quintet give us a full helping of latin soul. Leon Haywood, Dave Davani and Leo's Five provide us with some swinging grooves, whilst it would be remiss of us to pass over other fine contributions from mod jazz favourites Googie Rene and the Johnny Otis Show.
So if you are to feel the need to dress sharp in the manner described above be sure to use this as the only recommended soundtrack!
By Dean Rudland