Hot Coffey In the D
Red Hot Jazz-Soul Fusion By and For the Coolest Cats in Town.
Dennis Coffey? No; me neither but half way through my first listen to this splendid album I was reaching for the accompanying Press Release and found out he was a one of Motown’s legendary Funk Brothers!
The album opens with moodily cinematic Fuzz; an 8 minute opus that sets the scene very nicely and could easily have been from a cool Blaxploitation movie like Cleopatra Jones, but pre-dates that scene by 10 or more years.
I can easily imagine the patrons in Morey Baker’s Showcase Lounge, down-town Detroit City sipping their cocktails and grooving to the sweet soulful interpretation of By The Time I Get To Phoenix which follows; and Lyman Woodward then gives a master-class in playing the Hammond B-3 during a near 12 minutes of The Look of Love.
Although a live recording from 1968, it’s been edited to leave out 99% of the applause and intros, but the quality is diamond tight and as pin sharp as anything that came out of Hitsville USA.
There are only 7 tracks here; but each one captures your attention; with Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage and the ubiquitous Wade in the Water showcasing Coffey’s liquid guitar style in a way that only Norman Whitfield had probably heard before.
There are only two self-penned tracks here; the opener and The Big D, a super funky tune that channels Curtis Mayfield, George Benson and Booker T at their collective very best.
My favourite track; Casanova (Your Playing Days are Over) is just 7 minutes of absolute Soulful Heaven; and perfect for any time of the day or any mood that you happen to find yourself in…..Sweet Soul Music indeed!
Oh; I’ve raved about Coffey and organist Lyman Woodward who very nearly steals the show; but let’s not forget the spine of the trio…drummer Melvin Davis who does much of the ‘heavy lifting’ in the background and is the glue that holds this band together.
BTW there is a 54 page booklet that accompanies the disc entitled Celebrating an Unsung Guitar Hero, and after reading it (and poring over the amazing photos) I have to agree….Dennis Coffey is a Guitar Hero.
I don’t go out of my way to listen to instrumental albums; but when I checked I have quite a few tucked away in my collection; mostly of the Jazz and Funk persuasions and each is there on merit, and Hot Coffey in the D will be a very popular addition too.
Released January 13th 2017