posted by #@blues2jazzguy  Robert J. Carmack

John Patton, often known as “Big John” Patton, was one of Blue Note Records most active soul-jazz organists during the golden age of the Hammond B-3s. Between 1963 and 1970 Patton developed 11 albums’ worth of material as a leader and “sat- in” with an enormous procession of skilled improvisers. Arguably his best work has since been compared with that of  innovator Larry Young.

big-john-patton Color -300x300Patton was born in Kansas City, MO, on July 12, 1935. His mother was a church pianist who encouraged her son to learn the instrument. He began to play at the age of 13. During the mid-’50s, Patton worked in bands accompanying rhythm & blues singer Lloyd Price.    By 1961, he had switched over to the organ, advancing along the trail blazed by Jimmy Smith, Shirley Scott, and Brother Jack McDuff.   It was alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson who initially took Patton the organist into a recording studio first on May 9, 1962, to tape an LP to be called The Natural Soul, then on January 24, 1963, a lengthy session that yielded enough material for the albums “Good Gracious and Signifyin’.”   john_patton  OH BABY  Band W sister

On February 2, 1963, Patton sat in  on Jimmy Smith’s Rockin the Boat session  playing only a tambourine. He spent the rest of that year making great music as a leader and sideman, jousting ideas and energies with his close Blue Note collaborator guitarist Grant Green (on the album Am I Blue?) and with saxophonists George Braith (on Patton’s Blue John), Harold Vick (on Steppin’ Out!), Johnny Griffin (on Soul Groove), Don Wilkerson (on Shoutin’), and Red Holloway (on Burner). john_patton WAY I FEEL BIG NOW

Over the next few years Patton recorded with trumpeter Richard Williams (on Patton’s Way I Feel) and vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson (on Patton’s Let ‘Em Roll), and also appeared as a catalytic agent on Grant Green’s album Iron City, George Braith’s Laughing Soul, Clifford Jordan’s Soul Fountain, and drummer Grassella Oliphant’s Grass Is Greener with trumpeter Clark Terry and saxophonist Harold Ousley. In 1968 Patton’s recording unit included saxophonists Junior Cook and Harold Alexander. The last of his albums from this period (Accent on the Blues and Memphis to New York Spirit) featured saxophonists Marvin Cabell and George Coleman as well as guitarist James Blood Ulmer.

After 1970 Patton quit the scene for a long while, quietly residing in East Orange, NJ. He contributed to vibraphonist Johnny Lytle’s Everything Must Change in 1977, recorded his own Soul Connection in 1983 with guitarist Melvin Sparks and visionary trombonist Grachan Moncur III, then cut two albums with guitarist Jimmy Ponder: Mean Streets: No Bridges (1987) and Jump (1988).    big-john-smoke NOW patton

Big John Patton’s comeback began in 1993-1994 with two albums featuring saxophonist John Zorn: Blue Planet Man and Minor Swing. Here he touched upon edgy ground similar to that which he had explored in 1968. His last major album, This One’s for J.A., was recorded in December 1996. On March 19, 2002, 66-year-old John Patton succumbed to diabetes and renal failure. Overshadowed by organists who for one reason or another enjoyed greater popularity, and still underestimated by many jazz critics and historians, Patton and his recorded legacy are ripe and ready for open-minded reevaluation~info courtesy of blue note records.


posted by #@blues2jazzguy


This collects the photographs of legendary musician Les McCann; he documented the jazz scene and its players—Nina Simone, John Coltrane, Count Basie, and many others—from the inside, across several decades.

back page  Les McCann  Invitation to Openess
Les McCann Documented Jazz History- “HE WAS THERE”

“His perfect marriage of church and swing captured the spirit of the times in the same way that Ray Charles’ mixture of gospel and blues heralded the arrival of soul.”  Joel Dorn

Les McCann - William Claxton 001
Les McCann during his Les McCann LTD. days at Pacific Jazz Records

Sonny Criss – Talented But Tragic

Here is a very interesting article on a guy rarely ever spoken about . he was right there during the Pre & Post-Bop era.

a young teen during WW II..

Geezer Music Club

We haven’t featured a jazz musician for a while and today’s spotlight falls on one of the best, alto saxophonist Sonny Criss. A contemporary of Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker — in fact, he played alongside him in the early years — Criss was an early bloomer musically, but his career reached a sad and abrupt end when he took his own life at just age fifty.sc1

William ‘Sonny’ Criss was a Memphis native who hit the ground running, moving to Los Angeles at age fifteen and working his way into the music business soon after. It was right in the middle of World War II so that might have helped create some openings in bands, but Criss had the talent to make it in any case. He was still in his teens when the war ended and along about then was playing in a band with Parker and other pros, guys…

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Noted Jazz Pianist and Composer Joe Sample Recovering From Surgery


Joe Sample, Jazz pianist /composer and co-founder of  soul  Jazz group, The Crusaders is still recovering from a surgical procedure to remove fluid buildup in his lungs. this is believed to have been  brought on by Pneumonia. the 74-year-old musician is being advised  by doctors to take an extended convalescence before attempting to tour again.  Many well wishers are confused as to where they can send their love or get well cards.. as no locations or additional information have been offered.  A simple statement from the face book page offers very little beyond what’s already been reported.


Joe Sample

Posted on Joe Sample’s Facebook page  exactly as it appears.

Hello all, we (management) are posting on behalf of Joe:

Due to an unexpected illness, the “Joe Sample Trio, with Special Guest – Randy Crawford,” will be unable to perform on October 25th, at the Paramount Theatre, Oakland, CA, as previously advertised.

Mr. Sample was recently hospitalized with what appears to be a severe case of pneumonia. A surgical procedure to remove a build up of fluids in his lung was performed, and Mr. Sample remains hospitalized. Doctors have advised Mr. Sample to undergo an extended period of convalescence before he will be able to resume his professional schedule.

Mr. Sample is unavailable for comment due to the aforementioned “procedure.” Ms. Crawford had this to say: “Our hearts go out to Joe and wish him a speedy and healthy recovery so that we can return to performing together ASAP. I was so looking forward to performing in Oakland at the Paramount. It has been way too long since I’ve visited our fans in the Bay Area, and I love the Paramount. Hopefully we can reschedule something as soon as Joe has recovered.”

Though better known for jazz as a pianist in the highly acclaimed group The Crusaders, Sample in more recent years  has toured as a trio or solo act with special guest vocalists. Among the singers that have toured with Joe are  Randy Crawford , Lalah Hathaway and rising star , Ledisi.  Ms . Crawford has long history with Sample & the original members group,  The Crusaders.. booking a giant urban hit in “Street Life”

In 1960, following the demise of a few short-lived Houston-based groups called The Swingsters and the Nite Hawks, pianist Joe Sample, drummer Stix Hooper, saxophonist Wilton Felder and trombonist Wayne Henderson relocated to Los Angeles, They became The Jazz Crusaders and signed a recording contract with now defunct label, Pacific Jazz for a very successful run that almost extended 10 years. follow this story also on twitter @blues2jazzguy


Donald Byrd  Now Pix  Howard Univ.Coming  this February 8 , a Jazz profile on the late #Donald Byrd, #Detroit- born Soul #Jazzmaster . who passed peacefully in his sleep at age 80 Monday morning. Further information surrounding his death and the memorial services forthcoming as  it becomes available.

(Donald Byrd shown on right)