Down Beat - 7/97, p.634 stars (out of 5)
- "...this time around the Hammond XB-3 organist pulls out all the stops....McGriff's "Red Hot 'N' New" and the chestnut "Don't Blame Me," to name but two, have a blessed, exhilarating quality..."
Personnel: Jimmy McGriff (organ); David "Fathead" Newman, Red Holloway, Mel Brown, Bernard Purdie.
Recorded in August 1996.
Personnel: Jimmy McGriff (organ); Mel Brown (guitar); Red Holloway (alto saxophone, tenor saxophone); David "Fathead" Newman (tenor saxophone); Bernard "Pretty" Purdie (drums).
Liner Note Author: Bill Milkowski.
Recording information: Van Gelder Recording Studio (08/19/1996).
Photographer: John Abbott .
Jimmy McGriff moves back to the Milestone label in style with a great soul-jazz quintet, with whom he recorded one of his best Milestone albums, The Starting Five. This time, with no apologies to the notorious O.J. Simpson legal staff, he calls his quintet "the Dream Team" -- and for this kind of music, indeed they are. McGriff strokes his Hammond XB-3 keys and pedals with a relaxed in-the-pocket feeling; with this group, he doesn't have to push, nor should he. David "Fathead" Newman holds down the tenor chair, Red Holloway (replacing the late Rusty Bryant) is on alto and tenor, Mel Brown plays really tasty guitar, and Bernard Purdie powers the drums. Check out the effortlessly sauntering, hip-swinging boogaloo of "Fleetwood Stroll" or the slow, deeply soulful treatment of Willie Nelson's country standard "Funny How Time Slips Away" or the oooh-ain't-that-funky "McGriffin." Everybody swings, everybody listens intuitively to each other and feels the down-home churchy grooves, and they recorded it all in one day at Rudy Van Gelder's studio. This has the ingredients for ranking as an instant classic in this idiom. ~ Richard S. Ginell