Personnel: Jimmy McGriff (organ).
Recording information: 1963-1971.
This excellent compilation cherry-picks the finest singles from Hammond B-3 master Jimmy McGriff's 1960s and early-'70s output. For a combination of blues-drenched grooves and straightforward pop accessibility, McGriff surpasses many of his soul-jazz contemporaries. In large part, the distinction stems from McGriff's no-nonsense approach to the medium, with an emphasis on chunky grooves, blues scales, and a minimum of flash or jazzy showboating.
Also, McGriff's choice of material is often familiar and endearing. For example, the organist's versions of James Brown's "Ain't It Funky Now," Ma Rainey's "See See Rider," and Ray Charles's "I've Got a Woman (Parts 1 & 2)" (which became a charting hit for McGriff) all appear here, and push all the right buttons. McGriff was a notable composer himself, and nine of his originals are featured here, including "All About My Girl" and "Kiko." Session musicians lend tasteful, bluesy support to McGriff's swirling B-3 antics throughout, keeping the level of excitement high. That the set spans McGriff's tenure at several labels (Sue, Blue Note, Capitol, etc.) provides a valuable service, and makes GREATEST HITS a definitive overview of his early career, and an obvious one-stop choice for soul-jazz fans.