This is a fantastic example to the 60's Soul Jazz movement. Cox, an accomplished musician, didn't want to be a basketball coach. When he was growing up in Cincinnati, he wanted to be a great baseball player, another Jackie Robinson. And he wanted to be a great jazz saxophone player, another Charlie Parker. After graduating from Kentucky State, Cox came to Chicago with classmate Joe Henderson, the famed tenor sax player. They were en route to California to become professional musicians. But Cox never left. He found a home – and another occupation – on the South Side.
A definite soul based session for Donald Byrd – and that's saying a lot here, because his previous decade's worth of work had all had some sort of R&B focus. The main force behind the set here is Isaac Hayes – who's producing, arranging, and playing most of the keyboards on the album. Oddly, Ike's not singing at all – and vocals are instead handled by Rose Williams, Diane Davis, Pat Lewis, and Myra Walker – plus the Hot Buttered Soul group on backing vocals.
Good Deal is a typically fine record from the Three Sounds, who were beginning to hit their stride when this session was recorded in May of 1959. Like most of their records, it's laidback – even when the group works a swinging tempo, there's a sense of ease that keeps the mood friendly, relaxed and mellow. Balancing standards like "Satin Doll," "Soft Winds" and "That's All" with bop ("Robbin's Nest"), calypso ("St. Thomas") and originals, the Three Sounds cover a lot of stylistic territory, putting their distinctive stamp on each song. It's very accessible, pleasant soul-jazz and mainstream hard bop, but Gene Harris' masterful technique means that Good Deal rewards close listening as well.
The best Beach Boys album, and one of the best of the 1960s. The group here reached a whole new level in terms of both composition and production, layering tracks upon tracks of vocals and instruments to create a richly symphonic sound…
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