Big John Patton
Oh Baby (180gm analogue -Classic series)
Big John Patton – Oh Baby! | (Blue Note Classic Vinyl Series LP only)
Kansas City born organist “Big” John Patton was part of a number of Hammond B3 organ players that made up part of the Blue Note roster in the 1960’s. Patton’s style of playing fell roundly into the soul jazz sphere, and you can definitely hear why on this recording. The first two tracks Fat Judy and the title Oh Baby are classic funky jazz outings, the former having a similar register to Lee Morgan’s Sidewinder and performed in a blues scale, helped along by the guitar of Grant Green which helps the groove go down on tunes that might otherwise be a bit on the lighter side of jazz. The horn section, made up of Blue Mitchell on trumpet and Harold Vick on tenor sax certainly impress from the get-go, Vick’s stylish soloing and Blue’s reliability make for an impressive pairing. Things really start cooking at Each Time, a swinging number that still maintains a heavy groove thanks to some percussive organ playing from Patton who finds the perfect notes for Vick and Blue’s solos. Mitchell, in particular, takes a wonderful, lyrical solo which leads directly into an organ solo from Patton, comped by Green who shoulders the responsibility of performing Patton’s organ lines exactingly on rhythm guitar before taking a high pedigree solo of his own. It is a track where the baton is continuously passed to each soloist before they all return to the original refrain as an ensemble, a playful track that allows the players ample time to express themselves. The standout album highlight is the churnin’ and burnin’ Night Flight, a Harold Vick composition and boy, can you tell. It’s a quickfire number that hangs off a minor progression filled with heavy chromatic shifts, boasting some deep in the pocket playing from Patton, fine solos and an up-tempo pace that lifts the track into jazz dance territories. Patton does a fine job with his left hand of playing the bassline, during which his right simultaneously solos and comps – extraordinary coordination on display here.