Q - 12/96, p.1514 Stars (out of 5)
- "...This two-for-one CD reissue of Rusty's NIGHT TRAIN NOW! (1969) and SOUL LIBERATION (1970) is easy-going but sweaty....finds a groove and wrings the soul out of it....Entirely sincere, fatback funk..."
Personnel includes: Rusty Bryant, Jimmy Carter, Ivan "Boogaloo Joe" Jones, Eddie Mathias, Bernard Purdie, Virgil Jones, Charles Earland, Melvin Sparks, Idris Muhammad.
Recorded in October 1969 and June 1970.
Personnel: Rusty Bryant (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone); Boogaloo Joe Jones, Melvin Sparks (guitar); Virgil Jones (trumpet); Jimmy Carter , Charles Earland (organ); Idris Muhammad, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie (drums).
Audio Remasterer: Joe Tarantino.
Liner Note Author: Tom Curry.
Recording information: Engelwood Cliffs, NJ (10/06/1969/06/15/1970).
Photographer: Al Johnson .
Rusty Bryant's sturdy tenor is right at home in the soul-jazz settings of this compilation of the saxophonist's Night Train Now! and Soul Liberation LPs. Bryant moans, barks, and shouts with assurance and passion throughout the endless boogaloo of funk and jazz grooves. There are no surprises here, just reliable funky jazz (with some blues and ballads for good measure) from plain-speaking players who say what they mean with skill and conviction. Both sessions are organ combo dates, with the leader joined by such soul-jazz elite as drummers Bernard Purdie and Idris Muhammad, guitarists "Boogaloo" Joe Jones and Melvin Sparks, and organists Jimmy Carter and Charles Earland. Released in 1969, Night Train Now! is the more roughshod of the two sets. It drives off Jones and Bryant's exuberant riffing and Purdie and Carter's insistent, pounding, in-the-pocket rhythm work. Relief from the merciless grooves comes in the form of the fine ballad "With These Hands." For the three tracks that feature Bryant on Varitone, the saxophonist humanizes the instrument, getting a warm, spicy tone that often eludes others who attempt this electric saxophone. The writing on 1970's Soul Liberation is a noticeable refinement over the earlier set, providing meatier structures for what is really the better of the two bands on this compilation. Essentially, Soul Liberation reconvenes the players from Earland's classic 1969 release Black Talk!, with Bryant taking over the tenor spot from Black Talk!'s Houston Person. Earland does a superb job of building tension and driving dynamics into the mix. Teamed with Muhammad, he unleashes an irresistible juggernaut of jackhammering syncopation. Sparks, always a welcome presence, contributes his earthy yet sophisticated rhythm and bop. ~ Jim Todd