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Release Info: WILLIS JACKSON - SOUL NIGHT LIVE! (1966)
A1.The Man I Love
B1.Polka Dots and Moonbeams
AMG REVIEW: The term "soul" was tossed around quite a bit in the '60s and '70s. It usually had an African-American connotation вЂ” as in soul brother, soul sister, soul food, soul music (a specific style of R&B), or James Brown, the Godfather of Soul. But the term isn't always used in reference to black culture; soulful means expressive, and in that sense, country greats Ernest Tubb and Patsy Cline were seriously soulful.
However you define the word soul, Willis "Gator" Jackson was the epitome of it. The tenor titan played with a tremendous amount of feeling, and in the '60s, Prestige wasn't shy about using the word soul in connection with his work. Recorded at a New York club called the Allegro on March 21, 1964, Soul Night Live! isn't soul music in the James Brown/Rufus Thomas/Sam & Dave/Marvin Gaye sense; however, Jackson's quintet (which also includes trumpeter Frank Robinson, guitarist Pat Martino, organist Carl Wilson, and drummer Joe Hadrick) offers instrumental soul-jazz/hard bop that has just as much humanity and blues feeling.
Jackson doesn't play any vocal-oriented R&B вЂ” which is what the term "soul music" usually referred to in the '60s and '70s вЂ” but he does bring a wealth of emotion to the table on tunes that range from the standard "Flamingo" to the funky boogaloo "Thunderbird." Jackson throws listeners a major curve ball on George & Ira Gershwin's "The Man I Love," which starts out at its usual ballad tempo before suddenly turning into a 100-mile-an-hour bop workout. "The Man I Love" has been recorded hundreds of times over the years, but rarely at a fast tempo. Soul Night Live! is an accurate title for this LP, which does, in fact, focus on a night of soulfulness. [The 2002 CD reissue on Fantasy adds the entirety of the album Tell It..., also recorded on March 21, 1964 at The Allegro in New York.] вЂ” Alex Henderson
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