Wilkerson, Don: Preach Brother! (Blue Note Classic) LP
Blue Note Records has announced the continuation of the Classic Vinyl Reissue Series which presents 180g vinyl LP reissues in standard packaging mastered by Kevin Gray and manufactured at Optimal. The pressings are all-analog whenever an analog source is available, with Gray mastering directly from the original master tapes. While the first 16 titles of the series focused on the best-known Blue Note classics from the 1950s and 60s, the new run of titles curated by Don Was and Cem Kurosman broadens its scope to span the many eras and styles of the legendary label's eight-decade history presented by themes: Bebop, Hard Bop, Soul Jazz, Post-Bop, Avant-Garde, The 70s, The Rebirth, and Hidden Gems.
The deeply soulful Louisiana-born tenor saxophonist Don Wilkerson made his Blue Note debut in 1962 with Preach Brother!, an under-recognized soul jazz classic and a hidden gem of the label catalog. Wilkerson had joined Ray Charles' band in the mid-50s and played on several of the soul legend's classic Atlantic sides, the feeling of which carries over into this exuberant 6-song set of Wilkerson originals. Joined by Grant Green on guitar, Sonny Clark on piano, Butch Warren on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums, Wilkerson is an absolute powerhouse from the opening flourishes of the jump blues "Jeanie-Weenie" to the swaggering closer "Pigeon Peas." In between, Wilkerson takes his listeners to church on the irrepressible shouters "Dem Tambourines" and "Camp Meetin'," downshifts for the expressive "Homesick Blues," and carries on an animated conversation with Green's soul-drenched guitar on "The Eldorado Shuffle."