Brother Jack may be a venerable 72 years old, but his new album "Bringin' It Home" proves he need not think about retirement yet. The album, a laid back mix of soulful instrumental jazz, brings together most of Brother Jack's superb 1960's Prestige line up for the first time in over 30 years, and some capable younger musicians. This great ensemble includes luminaries like Red Holloway (tenor sax) and George Benson (guitar), and up and coming stars like Mark Whitfield (guitar) and Andrew Beals (alto sax), and of course Brother Jack himself with his Hammond B-3 Organ.
"Bringin' It Home" is Jack's sixth album for Concord, it was recorded in two sessions over two days in Manhattan. It is a beguiling mix of old and new. It is difficult to single out individual tracks, but the best include a superb reworking of the George Benson masterwork "This Masquerade," featuring some superb work by Whitfield. Whereas, Benson himself is on top form, featuring with Red Holloway on a new groove "The Scratch", which swings away for an all too short seven minutes and eleven seconds. The laid back "A Time For Love" sees some exuberant alto work by Beals, and the cover of the Gershwins' "Summertime" is a particular joy, with Benson finding such depths that a new facet of this classic tune is exposed.
Underpinning all of this superb craftsmanship by these jazz masters is the distinctive sound of Brother Jack playing his Hammond B-3. At times it is possible to not realize that he is playing, but on careful listening it becomes obvious that he provides the musical frame work for all these great talents to give their best. Equally, that all these artists had a great time playing these sessions is apparent on every track.
This album would make a welcome addition to any CD collection. Jazz lovers and newcomers to the genre will enjoy it. Everyone will appreciate the fine playing, great rhythms and swinging, swooping soulful themes. So if you see Brother Jack sitting in a swing seat on his Minneapolis front porch, taking things easy, leave him be, he is probably building up a head of steam before delivering the next installment in his illustrious career.
Concord Records Inc.
2450-A Stanwell Drive.
Concord, CA 94520.
Phone: 925 682 6770.
This review is copyright © 1999 by Ian Webb, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.