Brother Jack McDuff – Oblighetto

Brother Jack McDuff

Oblighetto 45 Promo

My first foray into jazz was Miles Davis and John Coltrane. I was a relatively naive music collector who thought that opening the door to a new genre would be easy. Actually, it was not. When I realized what jazz was all about, the many forms and shapes it could take, and just how much was out there, I almost gave up. Then, there was Blue Note Records. The Blue Note sound got me. The Lp cover art got me too. I got into Grant Green, and scrambled to get everything that was available from him. In some of his records, there was this organ sound, and it was a sound I grew to love. I can recall being at the Groove Merchant in San Francisco in the 90’s, staring in awe at a copies of “The Final Comedown”, and “Green Street”. This love of Green’s jazz/funk/soul sound led me to guys like Lou Donaldson, who in turn led me to Jimmy Smith, Reuben Wilson, Jimmy McGriff, Groove Holmes, and ultimately to Brother Jack McDuff. I got into the Hammond B-3 sound with a lot of voracity, and again visited my favorite record shop (which at that time was an hour away) once a week to buy what ever I could by these Blue Note artists. Brother Jack had “Moon Rappin’ “, and I was in heaven.

From the very first time I put on “Moon Rappin’ “, “Oblighetto” always stood out. The eerie, spacey organ sound of Brother Jack (later changing his title to Captain, and punctuating it with a Captain’s hat) kept my attention. As the equally creepy and outer space vocals of Jean DuShon kick in (side note: DuShon was a veteran jazz singer who worked with many jazz greats and recorded albums for Atlantic and Chess Records among others), I almost felt like I was watching a space horror movie as a kid, glued to our television tuned to Philadelphia’s Channel 48 Creature Double Feature. However, I was glued to something altogether different, some aural stimulation created by McDuff’s Hammond, which shortly kicks just as hard as a David Beckham penalty kick. McDuff’s organ, Jerry Byrd’s guitar, Richard Davis’s bass, and Joe Dukes’ drums lock into a tight groove, and they seem like they’re really recording it from the moon. The term “in the pocket” seems like a severe understatement. If you can’t nod your head to this gem of funky jazz, then it might be time for you to get your ears checked out.

When I got into the record game heavy and started to collect all the roots of hip hop, the first stuff I started buying up were Blue Note 45s, the foundation of all the music I was into. This was the music I was spinning out at clubs. So when I got “Oblighetto”, it wasn’t long before I found out that a portion of it was used in a song by A Tribe Called Quest, a certain song that I had been into since “The Low End Theory” dropped, a song that always got a great response at my DJ nights: “Scenario”.

“Oblighetto” has also seen some more light of day, when Blue Note released a remix record in 2004. This great track was flipped and remixed by none other than the late, great, producer James Yancey, aka Jay Dee, aka J Dilla. By 2004 we knew Dilla was a genius producer, and this reworking of this record was another set of his production muscles he flexed, remixing this McDuff tune. While the whole “Moon Rappin'” record was not as much heavy funk as it was jazz soul, “Oblighetto”, in my opinion has as a funky element that can not be denied. Brother Jack (or Captain Jack, whichever you prefer), died in 2001 at the age of 74. He had a long musical career, recording for Prestige, Blue Note, Concord, Atlantic, Cadet, and Sugarhill among others. He was one of the greats of the jazz organ, and is definitely missed.

Keep Diggin’!

14 responses to “Brother Jack McDuff – Oblighetto

  1. Welcome to WordPress! You will certainly get my support… and a spot on the blogroll. I heard wind that you would be interested in coming to my neck of the woods (otherwise known as Baltimore) and blesssing us with some of your record spinning prowess. I do hope that a venture like that will come to fruition. You, the man behind the ‘Corners, Mr. Bluewater and the rest of the Asbury Park gang are always welcome here. Blog on, good brother!

  2. The great Jean DuShon and I spoke about this recording recently. She said “I reached back and used parts of my voice I hadn’t used in years on that one. I loved working with my pal and neighbor, Jack McDuff. We had a lot of respect for one another.”

    Miss DuShon has many “live” nightclub recordings she’d like to release to the public if she can find a record company that’s interested. These were made during her greatest vocal power and are terrific and soulful.

    Presently, she’s working on a one-woman show and enjoying the flurry that greeted the recently piece on her on the All About Jazz website. She can also be heard singing the original version of “For Once In My Life” at iSOUND online.

  3. well thank you all for the warm welcome. doing a record blog has been on my list of things to do, along with getting my small home studio together (which is almost finished!). i will try my best to keep up with you “record blog kings”, and if anyone has constructive criticism, of course it’s always welcome. i’m diggin’ the ease at which wordpress let’s you do things.

  4. Hi,

    great read. Great record. looking forward to the next instalment.
    Big respect from the UK


  5. hi there
    i feel very honoured seeing my link in your blogroll…
    keep up the good work and i hope to meet you someday…
    so if you’re ever in europe, let me know and maybe i can organise a little dj gig for you in my small hometown of luxembourg…

  6. no need to upload the soul mann & the brothers, i got a copy too…
    i will upload it on my theme from shaft part 2 post in a few weeks…

  7. hi…….wunderrrrrful site……is the link from this song gone, er i as dumb as i feel? thanks~!

  8. Check out some Charles Kynard. Great B-3. Also Charles Earland, the Mighty Burner. Your great post about this killer cut didn’t give mention to these great guys so I figured people readin’ might benefit. Hopefully, you haven’t grooved on some Kynard, and you’ll get turned onto some perfect B-3 solos. Makes my hair stand on end talkin’ about it. Leon Spencer has some great stuff, too.

    B-3 soul/jazz is music of the Gods. :thu:

  9. Pingback: Brother Jack McDuff - Hot Barbecue « Flea Market Funk·

  10. The lady Jean DuShon completely freaked the vocals on this song!! Her wailing in and out of the track is so hypnotic that its scary. Brother Jack laid this one down beautifully. Dilla touched it nice too!!

  11. Pingback: Jack McDuff – Electric Surf Board | Flea Market Funk·

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