Hilton Felton ‘The best of Hilton Felton’ (Jazzman) CD/LP/Digital (3/5)

Keyboardist Hilton Felton comes across as an equivalent of Jackie Mittoo for the jazz world, yet was sufficiently well respected to have performed with Grant Green. This collaboration immediately springs to mind when one hears the eight and a quarter minute jazzy groover that is ‘Spreading fever’. With its use of rhythm guitar, hammond organ and heavy percussion, it recalls in style Green’s epic rendition of the James Brown classic ‘Ain’t it funky now’. There is no questioning whatsover about the calibre of the musicianship on this release with delicious guitar licks on the nine minute ‘Bee bop boogie’ which, far from being be-bop jazz infused, is rather a Latin-tinged ditty with Felton playing on what sounds like a fender rhodes. However, only five tracks are present on this anthology which totals less than forty minutes. Given the extensive discographical details in the expansive and excellent sleeve notes, one needs to ask why these othewise fine tracks were not coupled with others (or at the very least one of Felton’s albums). As it stands, this is only a partial overview of the musician and a far more comprehensive selection of material is urgently required. In terms of content alone, the release merits a 4, but only receives a 3 because of the paucity of time for what purports to be a ‘Best of’ collection, but in reality only covers a tiny fraction of the keyboardist’s output.

Tim Stenhouse