At the start of the 1960s, pianist Les McCann's star rose faster than the blood pressure of those shortsighted detractors who regarded his run of deep fried West Coast soul jazz ‘hits' such as ‘Vacushna', ‘A Little ¾ For God & Co', ‘Fish This Week But Next Sunday Chitlings' and ‘The Truth' as nothing more than opportunism. Wrong!Les McCann was amongst the vanguard of those musicians who, like Horace Silver, Ramsey Lewis, Ray Bryant and Bobby Timmons plus a plethora of Hammond organists spearheaded by Jimmy Smith and Screamin' Jack McDuff, were steeped in gospel grease hallelujahs and driven by an infectious Baptist backbeat.As early as the mid-‘50s, the terms ‘funk' and ‘soul' were being widely employed amongst Hard Boppers to describe gospel-tinged down-home, call-and-response blues.
The source, for the most part, stemming from all those small group recordings that Ray Charles made for the Atlantic label: jukebox friendly 45s that informed a whole generation of both young jazz and pop musicians. For instance, Brother Ray as much as pianist Erroll Garner had a profound influence on a young Les McCann. Miles Davis was amongst the first to spot McCann's potential and promptly recommended him for the still-to-be-filled piano chair with Cannonball Adderley's upcoming new band.Whereas, most players would jump at such an opportunity, when Cannonball called, McCann declined the offer, as he was intent on establishing his own trio. It would seem that Les McCann worked harder than most other musicians to achieve his aims. And, as such, never let any opportunity slip by un-noticed to where he recorded a string of phenomenally successful albums that connected with everyone from college co-eds to Tinsel Town's hipster flipsters.
Though he often performed familiar selections from the American Songbook, McCann's appeal as a high-profile soul jazz popularizer was all down to his abilities as a groove cutter on self-penned juke box friendly tunes including ‘Vacushna', ‘A Little ¾ For God & Co', ‘Fish This Week But Next Sunday Chitlings' and ‘The Truth'. All these and much more are included on this collection that documents Les McCann's impressive debut on record.For the first seven tracks, Les McCann Ltd are joined by one of Central Avenue's original bebop tenor sax icons – Teddy Edwards, who most famously locked horns with Dexter Gordon and Wardell Gray. Edwards was also a member of Howard Rumsey's famed Lighthouse All-Stars and, in 1954, became Clifford Brown's original front line partner in Roach-Brown Inc. So this then represents Les McCann - The Truth…the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth.
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Our Love Is Here To Stay / Frankly Speaking / Fools Rush In / Undecided / Beve's Conjumulations / Willow Weep For Me / Lover Come Back To Me / Vacushna / A Little ¾ For God & Co / I'll Remember April / Fish This Week But Next Sunday Chitlings / How High The Moon / This Can't Be Love / For Carl Perkins / The Truth