Friday Mixtape: Soul-Jazz Cocktail Hour

For a five-second snapshot of what this mix is all about, listen to the opening seconds of Richard "Groove" Holmes' "Hittin' the Jug" at L.A.'s Black Orchid club in October of '61. It's only two bars into the tune when some guy in the audience, caught up in the heady combination of Holmes' strutting intro and a generous highball or three, shouts, "All right!" There couldn't be a better way to kick off this cocktail hour set of organ driven soul jazz and mid-century Blue Note party jams - this is music that accompanies a heavy pour, and a perfect warm-up for a Friday night.

Joining top-flight bandleaders from the '50s and '60s -- Jimmy Smith, Grant Green and Wayne Shorter among them -- are hand-picked cuts from deeper corners of Rhapsody's endless soul jazz vault (dig the harp- and flute-led "Afro Harping" delivered by Dorothy Ashby) and a few vocal favorites from Nancy Wilson, Ray Charles and Tami Lynn. Salud!

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