Jimmy Witherspoon was a singer and songwriter who regularly defied rote categorization. The rudiments of his vocal approach were based primarily on the blues. However, over a career that spanned five decades he sang in a range of styles that ran the gamut from R&B and gospel to pop. His deep and mellow voice and impeccable taste also made him a successful jazz-blues crossover artist. More than any other male singer, Witherspoon straddled the line between blues and jazz, becoming an integral participant in the history of both of these classic genres of American music.
Vinyl Lovers presents an essential reissue of the blues giant's sensational live album, At The Monterey Jazz Festival, originally released in 1959 on the HiFi Jazz label. The LP is filled with superb tracks featuring tremendous solos and great accompaniment by Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, Roy Eldridge, Woody Herman and Earl Hines, among others. "During the course of the set Jimmy Witherspoon sang at Monterey", recalled journalist Ralph J. Gleason, "there were many moments that remain in my memory. Most of them are on this album. For instance, there's the great introduction Earl Hines plays on ‘Ain't Nobody's Business' ...Roy Eldridge's meted trumpet on the same tune ...'Spoon crooning ‘rain, rain' later in the song and then Ben Webster's magnificent solo. Ben started to blow that solo and a thrill ran through the audience."
In addition to the original masterpiece, this collector's edition also includes two bonus tracks from the same period: "Froggy Bottom" and "Oo Wee, Then the Lights Go Out." All of these fabulous songs give a solid and revealing portrait of Witherspoon's genius as well as his rightful place in the blues pantheon.