Larry Young: Testifying




Larry Young Trio


Testifying (Prestige 8249)

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Larry Young (Khalid Yasin) (organ),

Thornel Schwartz (guitar), Jimmie Smith (drums)


Composed by Larry Young


Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, August 2, 1960


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

Organist Larry Young used to go over to John Coltrane's house and jam with him. But he was best known for his groundbreaking fusion performances with Tony Williams Lifetime, and his later appearance with John McLaughlin and Carlos Santana on Love Devotion Surrender. In the late '70s he put out some far-out solo material that never quite caught on. At age 37, he died tragically from pneumonia.

Fusion fans were used to Young playing notes that were so distorted and high-register that only dogs could hear them. But he didn't always play that way. Many fans were blithely unaware of Young's straight-ahead roots. Young's earliest recordings were very much standard jazz and blues based. Part gospel, part jazz and mostly blues, "Testifying" was an early indication that Jimmy Smith, Young's more famous organ contemporary, had something to worry about! Young brought a gutbucket soul to the blues. The tune's catchy melody was nothing special. But the young Young (I couldn't help myself) used it to slowly grind some meat. Throw in some simple fillers from Schwartz and drummer Smith, and you end-up with some fine ground chuck.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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