I recently read Soul Jazz: Jazz in the Black Community, 1945-1975, a book by producer, writer, and critic Bob Porter.
When I first heard about it, I felt like it was right in line with what I’ve been interested in learning about and listening to for the last 5 years or so: popular instrumental music and Black music from that era that I did not study closely when I was in the Jazz Studies department in college.
More specifically, I’ve been really motivated to listen to and learn about the genre and style that has come to be called soul jazz, among other names, as well as a lot of the music that came out of organ-led groups in the 60’s. Other related subgroups that have been really inspiring to get into are blues-and-ballads saxophonists and Texas tenors.
Playing with the Unsinkable Heavies has been a blessing for this, as we cover a lot of material from these groups, and since some folks have asked about some the tunes we play I thought I would link some resources here.
I recently found that the legendary Prestige Records has a Bandcamp page! Prestige released a lot of this music when it was around, and I can only hope that whatever conglomerate music group now owns their catalog (I think it’s Concord) is doing right by them. Regardless, buying the music there is much better than streaming it elsewhere. The albums No Way! and Right on Brother by Boogaloo Joe Jones and Fire Eater by Rusty Bryant have tunes that the Unsinkable Heavies play regularly. It’s worth noting that there is crossover between what we cover and what has been covered by other somewhat contemporary groups like the Greyboy Allstars.
And of course, as always, I LOVE USING THE LIBRARY! Their digital streaming app, Hoopla, has been a wonderful resource. Heavies favorites like Yusef Lateef, Stanley Turrentine, Grant Green, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Lou Donaldson, and Charles Kynard are available there. Also, Seattle Public Library had a copy of Porter’s book as soon as it came out.
Happy reading and listening!