Reference: FSRCD 754
Les McCann was at the height of his popularity as a soul pianist when these two joyous and irresistibly swinging albums were recorded live in late December 1961 at New Yorks Village Gate. Full of arresting playing, Plays The Shampoo, from the evening of Friday 29th, shows off the tightly-knit trio McCann had forged with Herbie Lewis and Ron Jefferson. And McCanns seldom revealed lyrical face appears here in his Bill Evans-like playing on the first 16 bars of the Too Close for Comfort theme statement and on You I Thought I Knew, a lovely composition of his that opens introspectively and builds to a gentle, swinging groove.
Recorded a day earlier, the second album, In New York had the serendipitous addition of Blue Mitchell and Stanley Turrentine, and a particularly savoury surprise in the late, little-known Frank Haynes, who more than holds his own in this fast company. His is the first of the two tenors to solo on each track except Maxies Changes. The soulful mood that suffused their meeting with Les McCanns trio and enchanted the audience is epitomized by the euphorically grooving A Little 3/4 For God & Co.
01. The Shampoo (McCann) 4:09'
02. Too Close for Comfort (Bock-Holofcener-Weiss) 4:55
03. You I Thought I Knew (McCann) 7:04
04. Woodyn You (Gillespie) 3:08
05. Someone Stole My Chitlins (McCann) 3:58
06. Out of This World (Arlen-Mercer) 5:27
07. Filet of Soul (McCann) 3:28
08. Smile Stacey (McCann) 4:56
09. Chip Monk (McCann) 7:24
10. Fayth, Youre (McCann) 5:42
11. Twist Chacha (McCann) 7:36
12. A Little 3/4 Time for God & Co. (McCann) 9:16
13. Maxies Changes (McCann) 8:44
Tracks #1-8, from the album "Les McCann Ltd. Plays The Shampoo" (Pacific Jazz Stereo 63)
Tracks #9-13, from the album "Les McCann Ltd. in New York" (Pacific Jazz Stereo 45)
Personnel on "Les McCann Ltd. Plays The Shampoo":
Les McCann, piano; Herbie Lewis, bass; Ron Jefferson, drums.
Recorded live at the Village Gate, New York City, December 29, 1961
Personnel on "Les McCann Ltd. in New York":
Same personnel as above, but Blue Mitchell, trumpet; Stanley Turrentine, Frank Haynes, tenor saxes, added
Recorded live at the Village Gate, New York City, December 28, 1961
Original recordings produced by Richard Bock
Sound engineer: Richard Bock
Original cover art design: Woody Woodward
Produced for CD release by Jordi Pujol
Stereo · 24-Bit Digitally Remastered
-In New York
"A thoroughly satisfying live date. The good-time pianist forgets singing on this Village Gate outing, and the band just cooks. Silky saxman Stanley Turrentine and trumpeter Blue Mitchell play as one on some cool McCann originals. It's almost inconceivable that the sextet had only one rehearsal."
Mark Allan -All Music Guide
"Plays The Shampoo At The Village Gate (Fresh Sound 754) combines the music from Les McCann Ltd. Plays The Shampoo and In New York, two albums that were recorded within a day of each other. Plays The Shampoo has McCann, bassist Herbie Lewis and drummer Ron Jefferson performing eight selections live including five McCann originals (best are "The Shampoo" and "Someone Stole My Chitlins") and three standards. McCann shows that, while a master of soul jazz, he could also play bop too and did not fit too securely into any stereotype.
The In New York set adds trumpeter Blue Mitchell and both Stanley Turrentine and Frank Haynes on tenors to the trio. McCann's five songs (which includes "Twist Cha Cha" and "A Little 3/4 Time For God & Co.") inspire the soloists, with Haynes holding his own with the two better known horn players."
Scott Yanow -Jazz Around Town, May 2013
Los Angeles Jazz Scene