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Sneak Preview

   Artist: Leon Spencer Jr.
Label: Prestige
Orig. Released: 1971
Catalog No.: LPPRES10011
Condition: Sealed-Reissue
Format: LP

Retail Price: $ 8.99 (1 available)
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Description
Leon Spencer Jr.'s first Prestige LP...
Track Titles

A1. THE SLIDE 5:45
A2. SOMEDAY MY PRINCE WILL COME 6:30
A3. MESSAGE FROM THE METERS 6:40
B1. FIRST GRAVY 3:55
B2. 5-10-15-20 4:25
B3. SNEAK PREVIEW 8:00


 

Liner Notes
WRITING IN SATURDAY REVIEW RECENTLY, STANLEY DANCE MADE THE FOLLOWING COMMENT: "CAPABLE ORGANISTS ARE MULTIPLYING AS FAST AS GUITARISTS, AND LEON SPENCER IS YET ANOTHER TO NOTE-EXCITING IN SOLO AND POSITIVE IN ACCOMPANIMENT." AND WHAT HE SAYS ABOUT THE PROLIFERATION OF GOOD YOUNG ORGAN TALENT IS QUITE TRUE. WITH THE EXCEPTION OF NEW YORK CITY MOST CLUBS THAT FEATURE JAZZ AT THIS JUNCTURE CATERTO THE ORGAN GROUP.THE NUMBER OF POPULAR ORGANISTS INCREASES FROM DAY TO DAY WHILE THE NUMBER OF SUCCESSFUL PIANISTS, IF ANYTHING, SEEMS ON THE DECLINE. MORE PIANISTS ARE TAKING UP THE ELECTRIC PIANO AND ONE MIGHT VENTURE A GUESS THAT THIS INSTRUMENT WILL BECOME MORE AND MORE POPULAR IN CLUBS. BUT UNTIL THAT HAPPENS, IT SEEMS LIKELY THAT THE INCREASE IN GOOD YOUNG ORGAN TALENT WILL CONTINUE. LEON SPENCER JR. IS ONLY ONE AMONG MANY BUT AS THE ESTIMABLE MR. DANCE STATES, HE HAS SEVERAL THINGS GOING FOR HIM. SPENCER WAS BORN IN HOUSTON, TEXAS ON NOVEMBER 1, 1945 AND HAS LIVED MOST OF HIS LIFE AROUND TEXAS. HE STARTED PIANO LESSONS EARLY AND STUDIED THE INSTRUMENT FOR MORE THAN 10 YEARS. AFTER GIGGING AROUND TEXAS WITH DAVID NEWMAN HE ATTENDED TEXAS SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY. WHERE HE STUDIED ENGINEERING. HE LATER ATTENDED THE UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON. AFTER AN ARMY TOUR (HE PLAYED CYMBALS IN A MARCHING BAND!), HE HEARD JIMMY SMITH IN PERSON AND DECIDED TO TAKE UP ORGAN. SINCE THAT TIME HE HAS BACKED SEVERAL VISITORS TO HOUSTON (AMONG THEM PEGGY LEE AND LOU RAWLS) AS WELL AS WORKING HIS OWN GROUP. IN 1969, HE SPENT THREE MONTHS IN LOS ANGELES AND MADE HIS RECORDING DEBUT WITH GUITARIST WILBERT LONGMIRE. FOR MOST OF 1970, HE WORKED AROUND HOUSTON COMING TO NEW YORK TO MAKE RECORDING DATES WITH LOU DONALDSON AND MELVIN SPARKS. SINCE THAT TIME HE HAS BECOME AN EXCLUSIVE PRESTIGE ARTIST AND THIS IS HIS FIRST ALBUM UNDER HIS OWN NAME. GUITARIST MELVIN SPARKS HAS KNOWN AND WORKED WITH SPENCER FOR SOME TIME. THEY FIRST MET WHILE IN SCHOOL IN TEXAS. LEON PLAYED ON MELVIN'S DEBUT ALBUM SPARKS (PRESTIGE 10001) AND SPARKS RETURNS THE FAVOR HERE. ALSO PRESENT FROM THE SPARKS AIBUM ARE TRUMPETER VIRGIL JONES AND DRUMMER LDRIS MUHAMMAD. BOTH THESE MEN ARE ACTIVE NEW YORK STUDIO MEN AND THEY APPEAR FREQUENTLY ON PRESTIGE. JONES, AT THIS WRITING, HAS AN EXCELLENT REPUTATION AMONG NEW YORK MUSICIANS WITH A BROAD RANGE OF EXPERIENCE. LDRIS IS MERELY THE FAVORITE DRUMMER OF MOST PRESTIGE ARTISTS. HIS ALBUM BLACK RHYTHM REVOLUTION (PRESTIGE 10005) PUT THE SPOTLIGHT ON HIS COMPOSITIONAL ABILITIES AS WELL AS HIS SUPERB DRUMMING. GROVER WASHINGTON JR. IS FROM PHILADELPHIA AND HAS RECORDED ON PRESTIGE WITH CHARLIE EARLAND AND BOOGALOO JOE JONES. HIS IS A STRONG YOUNG VOICE AND HIS PLAYING HERE MAKES ONE WANT TO HEAR MORE. BUDDY CALDWELL HAS BEEN ON SEVERAL HIT PRESTIGE ALBUMS MOST NOTABLY WITH HOUSTON PERSON. HIS UNOBSTRUSIVE WORK HERE IS SIGNIFICANT OF HIS JAZZRATHER THAN LATIN-TRAINING. LEON SPENCER JR.'S FIRST PRESTIGE DATE HAS A VARIETY OF TEMPOS, MOODS AND GROOVES AS BEFITS THIS VERYVERSATILE ARTIST. SIDE A OPENS WITH THE SLIDE A WAY DOWN BLUES. THIS TRACK FEATURES THE ENTIRE ENSEMBLE AND THE SOLOS ARE BY VIRGIL JONES, GROVER WASHINGTON JR., AND MELVIN SPARKS BEFORE THE LEADER COMES ABOARD. SOMEDAY MY PRINCE WILL COME IS MORE IDENTIFIED WITH MILES DAVIS THAN WAIT DISNEY BUT THEN THAT IS AS IT SHOULD BE. THE HORNS ARE OUT ON THIS TRACK AND SPARKS AND SPENCER STRETCH OUT TO GOOD EFFECT. MESSAGE FROM THE METERS IS FROM THE BOOK OF THE POPULAR NEW ORLEANS BAND, THE METERS. THE WHOLE BAND IS HERE ONCE AGAIN BUT THIS TRACK IS MORE IN THE FUNK-ROCK BAG. SPENCER'S ODD USE OF THE BASS IN THE MIDDLE REGISTER IS PRESENT HERE AS ARE SOME COOKING WORK BY GROVER WASHINGTON JR. AND THE LEADER. SIDE B OPENS WITH A TRIO WORKOUT ON A SPENCER ORIGINAL, FIRST GRAVY. THIS IS A GROOVE EXPECTED OF MOST ORGANISTS AND SPENCER GETS INTO THE SHUFFLE PLUS CONGA BEAT WITH SOME IDEAS THAT RECALL JIMMY SMITH. MELVIN SPARKS WHO HAS WORKED WITH MANY OF THE BETTER ORGANISTS ALSO SHINES HERE. 5-10-15-20 IS THE RECENT HIT OF THE PRESIDENTS. THE ENTIRE BAND IS HEARD HERE ALTHOUGH THE ORGANIST IS THE ONLY SOLOIST. THE TITLE TRACK OF THE ALBUM IS LAST AND ONCE AGAIN IT IS A TRIO OUTING WITH THE LEADER AND SPARKS GETTING INTO A HIP JAZZ BAG. ONCE AGAIN SPENCER DEMONSTRATES HIS VERSATILITY. IN FACT ONE MIGHT SAY THAT VERSATILITY AMONG YOUNG ORGANISTS IS ONE REASON FOR THEIR DOMINANCE OF THE SCENE. THERE ARE OTHERS OF COURSE BUT I THINK ONE WOULD BE SAFE TO ASSUME THAT IN DISCUSSIONS OF YOUNG ORGAN TALENT THE NAME LEON SPENCER JR. WILL BE ONE TO BE HEARD FOR A LONG TIME TO COME. NOTES: BOB PORTER (MARCH 1971) RECORDING: RUDY VAN GELDER SUPERVISION: BOB PORTER
Musicians
LEON SPENCER, JR., ORGAN VIRGIL JONES, TRUMPET GROVER WASHINGTON, JR., TENOR SAX MELVIN SPARKS, GUITAR IDRIS MUHAMMAD, DRUMS BUDDY CALDWELL, CONGA
 
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