Jimmy McGriff – 1971 – Soul Sugar

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Jimmy McGriff - 1971 - Soul Sugar front

A fantastic album, and one of Jimmy’s hardest to find! The set is quite different than most of Jimmy’s other work – and it features short, hard, funky tracks that feel more like obscure 7″ singles than any of Jimmy’s straighter soul jazz work. It almost sounds like The JBs are backing him – as the drums are tight, bass is great, and the overall groove is fantastic! The record’s a little like Jimmy’s Electric Funk album, but harder, with more breaks and basslines – and a non-stop groove that’s a pure delight for any fan of deep funk!

A1 Sugar, Sugar 2:46
A2 Ain’t It Funky Now 3:39
A3 Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours 2:49
A4 Dig on It 3:08
A5 Bug Out 3:04
B1 The Now Thing 2:57
B2 You’re the One 3:13
B3 Fat Cakes 3:49
B4 New Volume 3:36
B5 Spirit in the Dark 2:48

Jimmy McGriff - 1971 - Soul Sugar back

The Sonny Lester-produced Soul Sugar looms large in Jimmy McGriff’s vast catalog – while it’s a fool’s errand to pick the organist’s absolute funkiest recording, this one demands serious consideration. Without personnel credits, it’s impossible to know who’s backing McGriff here, but the rhythm section is nonetheless superb – cuts like “Dig on It” (later sampled by A Tribe Called Quest), “Fat Cakes“, and “The Now Thing” rival the Meters for sheer soulfulness. The covers are no less impressive – while renditions of James Brown’s “Ain’t It Funky Now“, Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered“, and Aretha Franklin’s “Spirit in the Dark” remain true to the spirit of the original recordings, the ingenious arrangements also allow McGriff and his band panoramic stretches of space to explore.

Jimmy McGriff - 1971 - Soul Sugar label 1

This 1971 session finds McGriff continuing to do like so many other jazz musicians of the time: embrace and adapt to the emergence of funk and soul into mainstream music, and recontextualize it in a jazz arena. The results are an unsurprisingly delicious slice of jazz-funk made from the finest ingredients. The superb playing of Richard Davis on electric bass is unquestionably the anchor throughout the album’s nine slices, leaving McGriff and company to follow suit with loose (but not too far out) improvisation that’s as equally relaxing as it is invigorating. While McGriff’s adventurous side is slightly tamed, it’s that willingness to improv and blend together as a cohesive unit that makes Groove Grease such a tasty statement that is consistently fresh with repeated listenings.

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Conversation for album: Jimmy McGriff – 1971 – Soul Sugar

  • anewhoop
    Posted at 00:20h, 04 June 2015 Reply

    Amazing ! Thx you !

  • Dery
    Posted at 08:46h, 04 June 2015 Reply

    Oh my….that album cover…..

  • Total7
    Posted at 09:24h, 04 June 2015 Reply

    Absolutely dig this album & of course Jimmy McGriff & his excellent band….

  • Rumors
    Posted at 09:33h, 04 June 2015 Reply


  • Grumpy
    Posted at 13:34h, 04 June 2015 Reply

    Thank you so much for this and all those other gems!

  • Rick
    Posted at 21:29h, 04 June 2015 Reply

    Great album, thanks

  • Jane
    Posted at 09:01h, 05 June 2015 Reply

    Damn, this is nice

  • Paul
    Posted at 09:30h, 05 June 2015 Reply

    This is so uplifting its hard to describe. Almost like a calling. Love it.

  • Jeff
    Posted at 12:13h, 05 June 2015 Reply

    Jazz is the teacher funk is the preacher

  • Ariston
    Posted at 10:25h, 06 June 2015 Reply

    Time don’t take it away

  • Rene
    Posted at 10:45h, 06 June 2015 Reply

    I love hammond organ!

  • Sakul
    Posted at 19:26h, 06 June 2015 Reply


  • REM
    Posted at 19:42h, 06 June 2015 Reply

    Nah. Everything here is perfect.

  • Steven
    Posted at 11:24h, 07 June 2015 Reply

    LOVE THIS !!!!

  • Charlie
    Posted at 11:28h, 07 June 2015 Reply

    pure music

  • Prelude
    Posted at 23:02h, 07 June 2015 Reply

    Thanks for sharing…Still sounds so fresh!!

  • Linda
    Posted at 23:33h, 07 June 2015 Reply

    Another favorite!!!

  • Nickolas
    Posted at 09:23h, 09 June 2015 Reply

    Beautiful old memories. ..

  • Shedon
    Posted at 11:51h, 09 June 2015 Reply

    hay dude that was so cool

  • Ray
    Posted at 22:40h, 11 June 2015 Reply

    This is grown folks music.

  • Karen
    Posted at 18:35h, 13 June 2015 Reply

    Simply impressive.

  • Richard
    Posted at 16:12h, 14 June 2015 Reply

    Thanks for this! A cool album.

  • KevM
    Posted at 15:32h, 12 May 2016 Reply

    Looking forward to hearing this. Thanks!

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