Monday, March 27, 2017

Charles Kynard - 1972 - Woga

Charles Kynard 

01. Little Ghetto Boy
02. Hot Sauce
03. Lime Twig
04. Slop Jar
05. Rock Steady
06. Name The Missing Word
07. The First Time Ever
08. Shout

Charles Kynard : electric organ
Chuck Rainey : Fender bass
Arthur Adams : electric guitar
David Roberts : trombone, bass trombone
George Bohanon : trombone, bass trombone
James Kartchner : trumpet, flugelhorn
Jerome Rusch : trumpet, flugelhorn
Paul Humphrey : drums

Sweet organ lines, heavy drums, and a great little groove throughout -- a tight batch of groovers from the mighty Charles Kynard! The keyboardist is in fine 70s form here -- stepping away from the sparer sound of his albums for Prestige with a fuller style for Mainstream Records -- in a groove that's almost part blacksploitation funk, thanks to some sharp backings from arranger Richard Fritz! The mighty Paul Humphrey is at the bottom of the set on nicely funky drums -- and other players include Arthur Adams on guitar, Chuck Rainey on bass, and some great additional horns, which give the record a larger jazzy finish, but never get in the way of Kynard's lean, mean organ lines. There's a great version of "Rock Steady" on the album, one that has a great funky intro -- plus the cuts "Shout", "Lime Twig", "Slop Jar", "Name The Missing Word", "Little Ghetto Boy", and "Hot Sauce".

This is one of organist Charles Kynard's best albums in my opinion. Most of the material is of a high caliber which is generally one of the biggest drawbacks to listening to the soul jazz or "acid jazz" of the early and mid 70s. The cheesy material was usually some popular pop tune or R&B tune meant as a single for radio.

This 1972 Mainstream Records album has several cover tunes such as the first track the Donny Hathaway sung "Little Ghetto Boy". This tune comes off rather well in my opinion. Charles states the vocal melody on his organ with a sound crossed between Jimmy Smith and Jimmy McGriff. Charles is not a blow the listener away with tons of notes type player, his forte is the groove and while the listener does get a few glimpses of Charles chops on this album he plays more of what the song requires which in my opinion is a sign of a mature improviser.

The band assembled on Woga is a great contribution to this albums successful sound because they're super tight and have a relaxed grooving chemistry together. The band has an interesting horn section made up of Jerry Rusch and James Kartchner on trumpets with George Bohanan and David Roberts on trombones. On guitar is Arthur Adams, on electric bass the legendary Chuck Rainey who kills it on every tune with his fat clear sound and funky bass lines. On drums is Paul Humphrey and Richard Fritz arranged, conducted the horns and wrote all the tunes except for tracks 1,5,6 & 7.

In my opinion it's the Fritz originals that deliver the band's most inspired performances especially track 4 "Slop Jar" along with the Aretha Franklin tune track 5 "Rock Steady". In all honesty I can put this album on and enjoy it from start to finish which is a rare thing with this era soul jazz. As I said before about the tendency of the record labels wanting singles for radio that usually ended up being badly arranged pop material popular at the time.
Here on Woga that doesn't happen, the arranger Richard Fritz avoids adding the Vegas show sound into the horn arrangements and the horn section is very tight and in tune with each other. I'd also like to mention the great sound and production on this album, every instrument can be heard clearly with good separation. The drums and bass sound great! Up front and punchy. A rare feat for 1972 recording technology.

I'll close this review by saying if you're a fan of the soul jazz sound of this time by guys such as Lou Donaldson, Leon Spencer Jr, Melvin Sparks, Jimmy McGriff or Neo Soul jazz sound of artists such as Karl Denson, The Greyboy Allstars and Medeski, Martin and Wood you should definitely have this album in your collection. Good luck finding the cd for under 50 bucks,