Thursday, December 8, 2016

Rusty Bryant - 1974 - Until It's Time For You To Go

Rusty Bryant
Until It's Time For You To Go

01. The Hump Bump     5:56
02. Troubles     4:32
03. Red-Eye Special     7:23
04. Draggin' The Line     5:22
05. Until It's Time For You To Go     5:33
06. Ga Gang Gang Goong     5:30

Bass – Wilbur Bascomb
Drums – Bernard Purdie
Electric Piano – Horace Ott
Guitar – David Spinozza, Hugh McCracken
Organ – Ernie Hayes
Tenor Saxophone – Rusty Bryant
Vibraphone, Percussion – George Devens

Recorded at A&R Studios, New York City, August 1974

Contrary to what jazz purists would have listeners believe, making jazz relevant to popular music isn't necessarily a bad thing -- everyone from Glenn Miller to Grover Washington, Jr. and Hank Crawford have demonstrated that it can be done tastefully. But at the same time, it is hard to have any respect for albums that contain outright elevator Muzak and claim to be jazz. So when you're evaluating what is good commercialism and bad commercialism, it is best to avoid sweeping generalizations and make your evaluations on an album-by-album or artist-by-artist basis. Produced by Bob Porter in 1974, Until It's Time for You to Go is an album of tasteful commercialism. Bop snobs and jazz purists are not the target of this LP, which Fantasy reissued in 2002 on a 70-minute CD that also contains 1973's For the Good Times. Rusty Bryant fuses jazz with soul, funk, and pop, but he does so in a creative, gutsy fashion. If you appreciate the soul-jazz that Washington, Charles Earland, and the Crusaders were coming out with at the time, you can appreciate where Bryant is coming from on funky, groove-oriented offerings like "Ga Gang Gang Goong" and "The Hump Bump." Another highlight of the record is the title song, a Buffy Sainte-Marie ballad that Bryant dedicates to tenor titan Gene Ammons (who was dying of cancer). This is not an album of wimpy elevator Muzak; whether he is on alto or tenor, Bryant's playing is gutsy and substantial. And even if some of the material is over-arranged, Bryant still gets in his share of meaty solos. Not everything that Bryant recorded in the '70s was great, but Until It's Time for You to Go is among the late saxman's more memorable albums of that era.

Rusty Bryant - 1973 - For the Good Times

Rusty Bryant
For the Good Times

01. For The Good Times     5:05
02. Killing Me Softly     5:25
03. The Last One Out     6:25
04. Appalachian Green     5:00
05. A Night In Tunisia     5:30
06. Looking Through The Eyes Of Love     3:40
07. Theme From Deep Throat     4:30

Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone – Rusty Bryant
Bass, Electric Bass – Tony Levin
Drums – Steve Gadd
Electric Piano – Hank Jones
Guitar – Hugh McCracken, Joe Beck

For the Good Times brings together two early 1970s albums from alto/tenor Rusty Bryant: 1973's For the Good Times and 1974's Until It's Time for You to Go. Both albums find Bryant combining pop and soul-jazz with the aid of electric pianos and funky guitars. Things get started with tepid versions of the title track and Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly With His Song," both veering dangerously close to Muzak territory. The pieces are salvaged, however, by Joe Beck and Hugh McCracken's guitar work and Hank Jones' steady hand at the keyboards. Bryant turns in his best solo on a groovy version of "Theme From Deep Throat" that's propelled forward by bassist Tony Levin and drummer Steve Gadd. Musically, things pick up a bit on the last six tracks. Pieces like "The Hump Bump," "Draggin' the Line," and "Until It's Time for You to Go" step up the funk factor by adding horn sections, and guitarist McCracken and David Spinozza are given more leeway. There's also a harder edge to Bryant's playing on pieces like "The Red-Eye Special." Together, the two albums that make up For the Good Times provide a 70-minute backward glance at the strange world of jazz circa 1973-1974. They also offer a chance to hear Bryant cut loose on a number of popular songs.

Rusty Bryant - 1972 - Wild Fire

Rusty Bryant 
Wild Fire

01.  Wildfire     6:55
02. It's Impossible     5:03
03. Riders On The Storm     6:55
04. The Alobama Kid     7:48
05. If You Really Love Me     5:55
06. All That I've Got     5:30

Congas – Buddy Caldwell
Drums – Idris Muhammad
Guitar – Ernest Reed, Jimmy Ponder
Organ – Bill Mason
Saxophone – Rusty Bryant

This along with Rusty's previous album for the Prestige label The Fire Eater are my favorites by the Ohio sax man who enjoyed success with the tune "Night Train" in the 50s for the Dot label. He's virtually unknown outside of die hard fans of his music which is unfortunate because he can blow the greasiest funkiest tenor sax with a trademark growling sound wether on alto or tenor.

As the AllMusic review states this albums groove factor is greatly enhanced by the great funk drumming of Idris Muhammad aka Leo Morris on drums. On organ Bill Mason really plays his butt off especially on the album's closer "All I've Got" he kills it testifying like a Pentecostal preacher. Jimmy Ponder handles the guitar with Ernest Reed joining Ponder on the title track "WildFire" for a neat dual guitar arrangement. Speaking of the title track it's probably the best tune on this album along with the Billy Preston penned "All I've Got" which is a tour de force for the whole group they take it out on a high.

Rusty Bryant - 1971 - Fire Eater

Rusty Bryant
Fire Eater 

01. Fire Eater     9:30
02. Free At Last     8:35
03. The Hooker     9:25
04. Mister S.     7:45

Drums – Idris Muhammad
Guitar – Wilbert Longmire
Organ – Bill Mason (tracks: 1, 2), Leon Spencer, Jr. (tracks: 3, 4)
Saxophone – Rusty Bryant

In my opinion this is Rusty Byant's most funky greasey albums he recorded for Prestige and producer Bob Porter. Many people probably haven't heard of Rusty Bryant especially if you're under the age of 50 because he never became a household name like Lester Young or John Coltrane probably because unlike those guys Rusty never tried to push the music's envelope but that isn't to diminish his abilities. If I had to label Rusty's style I'd put him more in the blues shouters category with guys like Pee Wee Ellis and Hank Crawford. His music is more about the feeling and the groove.

In my opinion this album has influenced scores of bands performing now such as the Greyboy Allstars, The New Master Sounds and Medeski, Martin and Wood.

My favorite track is the title track The Fire Eater. It's funk at its best, simple grooving and memorable. The band is Idris Muhammad on drums one of the funkiest drummers of all time! Bill Mason and Leon Spencer Jr split the organ duties, and Wilbert Longmire on guitar. This album is out of print as an individual album on cd but you can get it on the Prestige compilation album Legends of Acid Jazz "Rusty Bryant" volume 2. Which also contains the sister album to this "WildFire" which in my opinion is also a killer disc. Find it before this music disappears forever.

Rusty Bryant - 1970 - Soul Liberation

Rusty Bryant
Soul Liberation

01. Cold Duck Time     6:14
02. The Ballad Of Oren Bliss     5:55
03. Lou-Lou     8:12
04. Soul Liberation     11:35
05. Freeze-Dried Soul     7:30

Drums – Idris Muhammad
Guitar – Melvin Sparks
Organ – Charlie Earland
Saxophone – Rusty Bryant
Trumpet – Virgil Jones

Recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, June 15, 1970

As the title track demonstrates, from the first lines Bryant grabs you by the throat and thence builds a heated solo, inspired by an equally fiery line-up. There’s Idris Muhammad. The steamroller! The funky wizard! The eloquent groovemaster! Competent in many facets of jazz, of course Muhammad is admired mostly for his groundbreaking soul jazz grooves. On this album Muhammad’s trademark press rolls ‘on the one’ are plentiful.

At the time, Muhammad mostly played with Lou Donaldson. Other Donaldson alumni are Earland and Sparks. Furthermore, all four sidemen played on Charles Earland’s masterful Black Talk. Thus they have some experience playing together and would continue to play on other recordings the following year. Charles Earland is a great organist but often demonstrates an unnerving form of bombast in this session, wasting powder and shot and leaving us wondering which solo climax is next. Yet the heavy ground beef he delivers for Rusty Bryant’s Big Wopper is wholly satisfactory.

Virgil Jones is an exciting trumpet player who shows an appetite for the exuberant blowing of Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard. Melvin Sparks’ gritty, r&b-influenced play, at times echo-reverberating quirkily, is also an asset for a party record such as Soul Liberation; to boot, in Lou-Lou – a Charles Earland original dedicated to Lou Donaldson – the second part of Spark’s straightforward, bluesy solo is preceded by whimsical, spiraling, Oriental turns. Very charming.

Rusty Bryant sets the pace with Eddie Harris’ Cold Duck Time, shouting brusquely and throwing in some flashy bop phrases as well. Apart from the impeccable Ballad Of Oren Bliss Bryant continues to blow hard. Try putting on this album during your bi-annual house party. It’ll simultanuously prompt people to tip-toe to your linoleum dance floor and have their ears perked up well enough to notice whoever on Soul Liberation is currently cookin’.

Rusty Bryant - 1969 - Night Train Now!

Rusty Bryant 
Night Train Now!

01. Count Boogaloo     5:52
02. Funky Mama     5:50
03. Funky Rabbits     5:35
04. Night Train     5:20
05. With These Hands     4:22
06. Home Fries     5:50

Bass – Eddie Mathias
Drums – Bernard Purdie
Guitar – Joe Jones
Organ – Jimmy Carter
Saxophone – Rusty Bryant

An effort very much consistent with producer Bob Porter's Prestige "house" soul-jazz sound, utilizing players who would contribute to many other similar efforts in the late '60s and early '70s, particularly guitarist Joe "Boogaloo" Jones and drummer Bernard Purdie. These beefy, straightforward grooves include a remake of Bryant's arrangement of "Night Train" (one of his most popular recordings in the version he cut for Dot). The writing credit for "Funky Rabbits" is given as "unknown," but it sure sounds a lot to these ears like a retitled version of Ray Charles' "Hallelujah, I Love Her So."

Rusty Bryant - 1969 - Rusty Bryant Returns

Rusty Bryant
Rusty Bryant Returns

01. Zoo Boogaloo     7:19
02. The Cat         7:49
03. Ready Rusty?     4:46
04. Streak O'Lean     5:56
05. Night Flight     7:53
06. All Day Long     9:39

Drums – Herbie Lovelle
Electric Bass – Bob Bushnell
Guitar – Grant Green
Organ – Sonny Phillips
Saxophone – Rusty Bryant

The cover reads "The legendary saxophonist is back in a new setting with a new sound".
Recorded at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, February 17, 1969.

The muscular, groove-oriented tenor of Rusty Bryant was heard to best effect on his funky soul-jazz albums for Prestige in the late '60s and early '70s, though he'd actually been leading bands since the '50s. Born Royal G. Bryant in Huntington, WV, on November 25, 1929, he grew up in Columbus, OH, where he became an important part of the local jazz scene, playing a robust, wailing tenor sax inspired by the likes of Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt. He first worked as a sideman with Tiny Grimes and Stomp Gordon, and began leading his own bands in 1951. In the mid-'50s, Bryant signed with the Dot label and landed a major R&B hit with "All Night Long," a double-time cover of "Night Train." Bryant toured the country, but his association with Dot only lasted for a few sessions (including some where he attempted to introduce vocalist Nancy Wilson), and he soon returned to Columbus, where he was content to play on a strictly local basis. After around a decade, he returned to recording in 1968 on Groove Holmes' classic That Healin' Feelin', and began leading his own sessions again for Prestige, beginning with 1969's Rusty Bryant Returns, an anomaly where he played a Lou Donaldson-inspired, sometimes-electrified alto. His next few albums -- including Night Train Now!, Soul Liberation, Fire Eater, and Wildfire -- successfully updated his sound for the times, and became cult classics among acid jazz aficionados for their strong, funky grooves. Bryant returned for a couple of albums in the early '80s before settling back into his hometown once again. He passed away on March 25, 1991.

Rusty Bryant, a veteran R&B tenor player, was somewhat forgotten at the time of his debut Prestige album, but due to the commercial success of this recording, Bryant would record seven more sessions for Prestige during the next five years. Actually, this date is a bit surprising, with Bryant sticking exclusively to alto and sometimes using an electrified model similar to what Lou Donaldson was playing at the time. The music (mostly blues-oriented originals) is enjoyable, with plenty of boogaloos and soulful vamps. In addition to Bryant, the main soloists are guitarist Grant Green, in excellent form, and organist Sonny Phillips.