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Willis Jackson


His performances are so gritty and drenched in sweat that Jack Kerouac included some ranting praises for Jackson in On the Road. Jackson's breathy tone and face-reddening squeals and honks have torn down many a drinking establishment since the 1950s, and it's arguable that the man called "Gator Tail" (after a type of saxophone he pioneered) is one of the best Soul Jazz musicians to blow a horn. His pairings with guitarist Pat Martino are incendiary, especially the classic Bar Wars recorded in the '70s. It must be Jackson's tenure as an R&B player early in his career that gave him the ability to come up with solos so melodic and filled with emotion they leave you shivering. Best when paired with a steamy organ groove.
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