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Sonny Phillips - Sure 'Nuff LP


Recent reissue.

BGP Records

The debut set as leader by organist Sonny Phillips is refreshingly free of the usual clichéd funky licks copped off Jimmy Smith and Brother Jack McDuff albums. Very early in his career, the Alabama-born, Chicago-based Phillips trained on piano under Ahmad Jamal, and Jamal's characteristic style remains imprinted on Phillips' loose, easy-flowing solos. (There's a little Ramsey Lewis in there as well, especially on the swinging soul-jazz title track.) This lighter touch and less blues-dependent style gives Sure 'Nuff an intriguing and unusual sound that keeps it from sounding like just another soul-jazz album. At times, Phillips sounds like he's been listening to jazz-rock pioneers like the Al Kooper-led Blood, Sweat & Tears or even the very early (pre-wimpy) Chicago, because tracks like "Be Yourself" and "The Other Blues" subtly integrate rock backbeats and rhythm guitar into jazz forms. Sure 'Nuff isn't an undiscovered masterpiece or anything, but it's considerably more interesting than the average soul-jazz album from the late '60s.