Album of the Day
Les McCann was among the most successful artists blending jazz and soul music at the end of the 1960s, and MUCH LES, released 50 years ago this month, captures the singer-pianist in peak form. Cut with bassist Leroy Vinnegar and drummer Donald Dean, these half-dozen tracks include both strong originals (“Benjamin”) and distinctive covers (Cole Porter's “Love For Sale” and a beautiful reading of “With These Hands,” the set's sole vocal number). Atlantic Records' Joel Dorn handles production chores here, utilizing tasteful string arrangements and Latin percussion to accent the core trio's inviting grooves. Allmusic calls MUCH LES “one of Les McCann's greatest albums,” and we're in total agreement.