Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Coulter Club

Well, long time no see. Too busy seeing all the other great blogs out there to find time for my own. But this album struck me recently as due some exposure. This is the 1970 Soul/Jazz creation of Clifford Coulter. According to our friends at this album, "East Side San Jose", was Clifford's first recording as a leader though another followed in 1971 when both were apparently released. I vaguely recall when I first rescued this from a bargain bin of vinyl that I was a little disappointed with my first listen. I'm not sure I listened to it again in the 30-ish years since! I expect it was probably because I generally wanted little to do with anything in the jazz category that brought with it vocals unless it was Lady "Day" or Eddie Jefferson. Now, so many years wiser, I must say that this is a very enjoyable album for what it is. Cliff delivers some real nice vocals on the first song on each side of the record, "Do It Again" & "Sal Si Puedes". He also does a fine job bringing it on the keyboards throughout this session. All the cuts are at least solid if not excellent, mostly groovin' and funkified with some signature guitar work from one of my favorite jazz/blues men, Mel Brown. Mel offers some chicken pickin' and wah-wah magic that keeps this thing moving and finishing all too soon. The brass and rhythm sections are also tight and mix in perfectly with Cliff & Mel. I picked up a slight "phantom" background sound at times on this LP, sometimes sounds like an intended overdub, sometimes not so much, but if you're just going with the flow you don't even notice it, very faint. My copy has a little crackle here and there but it came out fine I think, you should enjoy it if you like a fun jam session of west coast soul oriented jazz, including some bluesy and expressive singing from Cliff. If you're like me, this should lead to your enrollment in the Coulter Club...


Clifford Coulter - East Side San Jose - 1970
Impulse/ABC AS-9197

Do It Again
East Side San Jose
Prayer Garden
Cliff's Place

Sal Si Puedes (Get Out If You Can)
Big Fat Funky Shirley
Alum Rock Park

(all songs written by Clifford Coulter)

Clifford Coulter - vocals, piano, Fender/Rhodes electric piano, Hammond organ & guitar
Mel Brown - guitar
John Turk - trumpet
Cornelius Bumpus - tenor saxophone
Gino Landry - alto saxophone
Jerry Perez - rhythm guitar
Jimmy Calhoun - Fender bass
Joe Provost - drums
Billy Ingram - drums (Cliff's Place & Big Fat Funky Shirley)