Seminal early work from Willis Jackson
– two classics back to back on a single CD! Blue Gator is a massive early Prestige set from tenorist Willis
– and just the kind of record that set him firmly in the soul jazz camp for the 60s! By the time of the set, Jackson
had already won plenty of fame for his R&B-tinged work – but here, he stretches out a bit more, and really gets creative on his solos – working with a very hip group that includes Jack McDuff on organ and Wild Bill Jennings on guitar – both players making a similar shift in their music at the time. The tracks are lively, recorded with a bold, loud tone, and have lots of those great open-mouthed tones from Jackson
– quite possibly a good reason for his "Gator" nickname! Tracks include "Blue Gator", "East Breeze", "The Gator Jumps", and "Try A Little Tenderness". Cookin Sherry is solid-sending soul jazz from the great Willis Jackson
! The album features Gator blowing in a group that includes Jack McDuff and Wild Bill Jennings on all cuts – plus bass by either Milt Hinton or Wendell Marshall, drums by Bill Elliott or Al Johnson, and some tasty added conga by Buck Clarke on a few cuts! The album's got a tight, yet laidback feel to – perfect kickback jam session material, in that classic Prestige soul jazz mode. Titles include "Contrasts", "Cookin Sherry", "Mellow Blues", and "Sportin".