April 2007

Grant Green - Live at Club Mozimbique
Blue Note 0946 3 63522 2 0
Format: CD
Released: 2006

by Joseph Taylor

Musical Performance ***1/2
Recording Quality ***
Overall Enjoyment ***1/2

Jazz guitarist Grant Green spent his later years at Blue Note making the kind of funk-based jazz the label was hoping would move more product. Purists prefer Green’s more traditional jazz records, such as Idle Moments and Matador, and it is true that his recordings from the late '60s and the '70s aren’t as rich or deep. But there is still plenty on them to enjoy. Green always finds something interesting to say, and Idris Muhammad’s drumming is loose and funky throughout. The best of Green’s later discs is Live at the Lighthouse (1972), and Blue Note has unearthed another live recording, from 1971, Live at Club Mozambique.

This music was made to fill dance floors rather than concert halls, so Green and his band cover recent hits, including "Walk on By" and "Patches." Muhammad and organist Ronnie Foster lay down a deep groove for Green and sax players Clarence Thomas and Houston Person, all of whom contribute lengthy, often brilliant solos. I occasionally wish for more harmonic variety -- the rhythm section often stays on a single riff or chord during the solo portions. But Green and Person are dazzling enough to keep things moving along, and I found that my attention rarely flagged during the disc’s 75 minutes.

The original multi-track masters for Live at Club Mozambique have been lost, so the CD was mastered from mono mixes. Stereo would have added more space to the sound, which is a little flat. Green’s many fans will want this enjoyable disc, but if you are just discovering him, pick up one of the titles I mentioned earlier.