But he brings the King Curtis sound with him. The other rhythm and blues veterans, like Hal Singer and Willis Jackson, bring a little nostalgia with them, remembering the R&B of the classic 1940s era. Newer players like Eddie Davis and Shirley Scott, are looking forward to the new soul era of the 1960s. Curtis, though he did begin his career with Lionel Hampton (and though he did play with Ornette Coleman in high school) is solidly right now. And why not? His sound, on countless records for Atlantic and other labels, defined the R&B saxophone of the 1950s. He explores a lot more possibilities here, but it's still the King Curtis sound.
The big difference between jazz and rhythm and blues of this era? Length. Jazz was an LP music, R&B was tailored to 45s, the jukeboxes, the radio DJs whose audiences were used to that three-minute format. That meant that an R&B instrumental number was built almost entirely around the main solo instrument, be it saxophone, guitar, piano or even harmonica. A jazz tune can easily, with extended improvisation and with solo space given to every member of the ensemble, go eight to ten minutes or longer. Obviously, this creates a whole different dynamic.
The other players here are a mixed lot. Nat Adderley pulled a stint with Lionel Hampton, but his career was almost entirely within the modern jazz idiom, In that, he finds plenty of common ground with Curtis. He turns out to have been a good choice. Wynton Kelly has a wide-ranging musical vocabulary, and he works well here.
The most interesting work on the session is turned in by Chambers and Oliver Jackson, who seem to have come prepared to have a good time. Chambers does some of his signature virtuoso solos, including a very strange and haunting bowed bass at the end of "In a Funky Groove," but he also does some unusual stuff, particularly on "Da Du Dah," and Jackson just doesn't hold anything back.
I'm guessing "Little Brother Soul" is Nat Adderley composition, but it may be a Curtis original paying tribute to Cannonball's little brother. Aside from "Willow Weep For Me," the others are all Curtis originals, and he shows some nice range.
The album was called The New Scene of King Curtis. It was released on New Jazz.