Compare: Spaceman Twist

This is a blues tune with a fun, running melody and has one of many of Lou’s thoughtful, relaxed and in-the-pocket solos on record. When I first heard Spaceman Twist, I knew I wanted to record it as part of our Good Eats album as it would be a lot of fun.

With this arrangement, I wrote a slinky, peculiar opening riff to reflect the title and feeling of outerspace putting an unusual twist on this tune. Then, I wrote out a few choruses from Lou’s solo for Don Braden and I to play as a unison line (a lot of fun to play live) which then sets up Joe Kaplowitz on a killer organ solo. Later, there’s a great drum solo played over the opening riff finally locking into the closing them.

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3rd track from Donaldson’s “The Natural Soul” album. Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on May 9, 1962. Lou Donaldson (alto saxophone); Grant Green (guitar); Tommy Turrentine (trumpet); Big John Patton (organ); Ben Dixon (drums).

Clifford Allan, writing for explains the date and sets up the context in which it was recorded: Throughout the ‘60s, Blue Note pretty much held a monopoly on both of hard bop’s children: modal jazz (of the Jackie McLean variety) and soul jazz (John Patton, Lou Donaldson and company). Of course, the soul jazz community does not limit itself to the simple pleasures of R&B party records, the reason why clean vinyl copies of Harold Vick and Fred Jackson records aren’t a dime a dozen. There is a difference between, say, the approaches of Patton and Don Wilkerson on one hand, and Jimmy Smith and Lou Donaldson on the other. The former offer a straighter, greasier format and the latter a funkiness still firmly rooted in Bud Powell and Charlie Parker. At Rudy Van Gelder’s studio in 1962, the two strains of soul jazz met and The Natural Soul is the result.

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More on Lou Donaldson can be found:
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