February 18, 2015

John Patton - Along Came John (1963)

Two summers ago I couldn't stop listening to Blue Note albums and lost my mind when I first heard my now-favorites, Into Somethin' and House Party by Larry Young and Jimmy Smith, respectively. At that point, and kind of now too, I was a Blue Note snob; I wanted everything 50s/60s jazz I listened to be coming from Blue Note, so the hunt was on for other organists on the label. I searched my book of Blue Note album covers and when I came to the full page dedicated to this amazing cover, I knew this was going to be dope. After searching weeks for a download link with my highly-restricted school internet I found some folder with the John Patton Blue Note recordings. I was not let down by the hype.

Along Came John is practically instrumental Southern soul. If you pay attention to the moving basslines (as opposed to the on-the-downbeat hard bop bass) you'll see this is a pure soul jazz album. But the waltzing basslines aren't the only thing that makes soul jazz soul jazz, you see. The rest is up to how down and gritty the band members are going to play. This album is made up of blues flares and repetitions, but with a combination like John Patton and Grant Green these blues riffs are going to be perfectly accented and timed, it's just second nature for them. Another combo is saxophonists Harold Vick and Fred Jackson; these two guys are organ-led band specialists, so you're bound to hear them on any Blue Note album with an organ, and drummer Ben Dixon as well for that matter. I guess there's something innate about playing well with an organ. Once again, what's going to determine how good a soul jazz or bluesy hard bop album is how well the band clicks and is feeling it on that particular day. And let me tell you these guys are feeling it! This band plays mostly mid tempo compositions and isn't going to blow you away with speed but hopefully wrap you in with the laid back cool blues they play.


Along Came John