Bernard Purdie: Purdie Good!

Prestige Records, looking for something funky in 1971, signed Bernard Purdie, prolific studio drummer and purveyor of the 'Purdie Shuffle'


By 1971 Prestige were still producing jazz records but times were changing. Huge piles of rock ’n’ roll and progressive rock records flooded the market and jazz record companies had to offer some commercial goodies to tempt buyers. They fell on Bernard Purdie, prolific studio drummer and purveyor of the “Purdie Shuffle” as later applied to Steely Dan’s 1977 Home At Last and the subject of an exposition by songwriters Becker & Fagen.

This LP, Purdie’s second as a leader, featured electric bass and piano, guitars and conga in a programme of jazz, R&B and blues that kept the music rocking. It is actually one of the better fusion jazz albums of the time: Purdie provides an insistent, hard-swinging beat and the record features some tight and effective horn ensembles.

Cold Sweat, the James Brown tune, grooves along merrily with Ted Dunbar on guitar, Norman Pride at the conga and the leader adding an infectious beat on drums. Montego Bay is a reggae tune that was popular at the time and here Purdie leads his troops along a sturdy pulsing line. Harold Wheeler’s piano is well featured here and again on Purdie Good, the slow blues that follows. Wasteland is an attractive Purdie original.

None of Purdie’s musicians are well known or high profile but they combine well to produce an album that swings from the first bar to the last. Craft Recordings have produced an exact copy of the original LP with 180-gram vinyl remastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio, who must be a busy boy indeed considering the number of reissue jazz discs he gets to cut for various record companies. Sound is bright and clear throughout. 

Cold Sweat; Montego Bay; Purdie Good; Wasteland; Everybody’s Talking; You Turn Me On (35.11)
Tippy Larkin (t); Warren Daniels, Charlie Brown (ts); Harold Wheeler (elp); Ted Dunbar, Billy Nichols (elg); Gordon Edwards (elb); Norman Pride (pc); Purdie (d). New Jersey, 1971.
Jazz Dispensary / Craft / Prestige PR 10013