01. Goin' Down South
01. Goin' Down South
Booker Ervin (tenor saxophone)
In the '90s, guitarist Jeff Golub's blend of jazz, R&B, and pop earned him a reputation for being one of the edgier, more tasteful players in the crossover jazz/NAC/smooth jazz field. Although some of Golub's recordings were played on smooth jazz stations extensively, he was quoted as saying that he refuses to play outright elevator music, and to be sure, Golub's solos give the impression that he is essentially a soul-jazz improviser at heart. The Ohio native (whose influences have included Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Lee Ritenour, and Larry Carlton, among others) is quite capable of playing straight-ahead bop; he certainly has the chops for it. However, Golub chose to focus on more commercial music and has a long résumé as a rock, pop, and R&B session player. He appreciates being compared to artists like David Sanborn, the Crusaders, Ronnie Laws, Joe Sample, and the late Grover Washington, Jr., that is, instrumentalists who can be commercial and groove-oriented but still have a jazz improviser's mentality.
Various Artists, Best Of Cookin’, Ubiquity URCD 063 (2CD, USA), 2000
This slammin' two-CD compilation collects works from the fabulous acid jazz compilations Home Cookin', Mo Cookin', Still Cookin', What's Cookin', and Is That Jazz?. Galactic, Greyboy, DJ Swingset, Sharpshooters and others contribute midlength jams that are a mix of soulful melodies, deep funk grooves, hip-hop beats, and rump-shaking dance music. While jazz has been influential in certain drum & bass circles since the late-'90s, these early-'90s neofusion hybrids serve as logical precursors and illuminate how well the artists on the set also serve the jam-band fans who've crossed over to improvised jazz largely on the strengths of funkateers like Medeski Martin & Wood and others. Even so, the tracks here sound incredibly fresh and fun, mixing live instruments and DJs for a party where everyone is playing spiritedly. At home on the dance floor or in the cocktail lounge, The Best of Cookin' is a fine reminder of the potency of acid jazz and a great introduction for electronic music fans who are interested in seeing a crucial early bridge between the jazz and DJ culture.
At the time that this Mainstream LP was recorded, Blue Mitchell was the featured trumpeter with John Mayall's blues group. Mayall returned the favor for Blue's set, playing harmonica with an electric octet headed by Mitchell. Among the sidemen are Herman Riley (on tenor and flute), keyboardist Joe Sample and guitarist Freddy Robinson. The material (all obscure originals) is primarily blues-oriented, and the music overall is listenable and funky, but not particularly memorable. Just an average date from these fine musicians.