Tremendous work from an alto player with a very unique conception – a player who was unlike Charlie Parker, Sonny
Stitt, or some of his precursors on the instrument – and instead really took off in bold new directions, like Lou Donaldson or fellow Chicagoan Sonny
Cox in the mid 60s! On the album Playin For Keeps, Bunky's got a very sharp edge on his horn – one that's deft and skillful, but never too boppish. Instead, he really uses space and timing to carve out a new sort of groove – one that's punctuated slightly by the rhythms of the combo, but which also firmly takes its cue from Bunky's own forcefully blown horn. Players here include Cleveland Eaton on bass, Willie Pickins on piano, and Harold Jones on drums – and titles include "Playin For Keeps", "Mi Compasion", "Brazilano", "Mama Looka Boo Boo", and "What Can I Do". Testifyin Time is a really great little record – and one that goes way past the hokey soul jazz reference you might guess from the title! Bunky Green's definitely "testifyin" on the set – but he's really moving past 60s soul jazz cliches, and never falling into some of the too-gospelly notes of some of his contemporaries. Instead, he finds a great space between hardbop, modern jazz, and more soulful moments – all delivered with a hip freshness that's right up there with some of his best contemporaries on the Argo/
Cadet label at the time. Thank Chicago for that quality – and the combo on the record, which includes Marshall Thompson on drums, Cleveland Eaton on bass, James Meyer on tenor, and Walter Strickland on trumpet. Titles include "Tamra", "Orbit Six", "My Ship", and "Tweedlee Dee". CD features 17 tracks in all – including one bonus track, "Step High", recorded in 1960 with Wynton Kelly.
(Out of print.)