Monday, 29 October 2012

What's Jack McDuff got to do with Joe Cocker?


Jack McDuff

High on the play list recently has been the 1999 album by Jack McDuff called 'Bringin' It Home'. If you don't know Jack or Brother Jack as he was known he was a mainly sixties soul jazz Hammond organ player, one of those very hip and cool sounding players that were the precursors to jazz funk. The album features among others the delightfully 'dirty' tenor sax of Red Holloway, and guitarist George Benson who got his start with Jack's group. Here is Jack, Red, George and drummer Joe Dukes from 1964...


One of the tracks on 'Bringin' It Home' is an instrumental version of 'This Masquerade' which was a huge hit in 1976 for the now solo George Benson, and represented that period where he went from jazz club status to Carnegie Hall crossover superstar. The song was written by Leon Russell, also known as The Master of Space and Time. I had been reading about Leon's recent comeback after years of obscurity, and mention was made of the heady days of 1970 when he was asked at short notice to put together a band for 70 odd performances that made up Joe Cocker's 'Mad Dogs and Englishmen' tour of the USA. Leon had always wanted to put together a big band, so assembled around 30 friends, session musicians and assorted freaks to back Joe...

For those that were around this might bring a smile to your face. For those that weren't: the madness of 1970...

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