Soul Jazz is a risky genre, sometimes you have to dig through some fairly mediocre records to find the good ones. Jimmy McGriff’s “The Worm” starts off like one of the good ones with a very hot side one, but then loses some steam on side two. Side one opens with some hard Staxx RnB/ funk and follows with two high speed, high octane swing blues numbers before settling on a kitsch cover of Aretha’s “Think”. Its wall to wall fun and some of the better soul jazz you can find, but unfortunately they lose their drive on the second side.
The second side is mostly laid back swing blues, the backbone of this sort of B3 led music, which isn’t bad, but it feels like a let down after the more funky and high energy opening numbers. On the third track, the slightly funky “Blue Juice” wakes up the slow swing and is probably the highlight of this side. Some big pluses on this album that sets it apart from the typical B3 jazz herd include a four man horn section for extra punch and solo variety, two drummers for maximum backbeat and a real bass player which always sounds more distinct than using the B3’s pedals for bass. Overall, fans of McGiff, and other organists like him, will be pleased with this one.