Duke Pearson ‘Prairie Dog’ 3/5

Atlantic Japanese edition re-issue series.

For fans of the pianist and band leader, this re-issue is something of a blessing since the original vinyl is incredibly hard to find and contains an outstanding composition in the eastern-flavoured ‘The Fakir’ which has graced the odd compilation and the album is worth purchasing for this track alone. The rest is patchier and surprisingly laid back even though the stellar line-up includes many of Duke Pearson’s Blue Note associates such as saxophonist James Spalding, bassist Ben Cranshaw and drummer Mickey Roker. That said, the groove-laden ‘Soulin’ is a soul-jazz tune very much in the ‘Sidewinder’ vein. Tim Stenhouse