Freddie Roach: Good Move (1963) Blue Note + poll Heroes of the Hammond


Selection: When Malindy Sings


Freddie Roach (organ) Eddie Wright (guitar) Clarence Johnston (drums) recorded by Rudy Van Gelder, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, November 29, 1963 add Blue Mitchell (trumpet) Hank Mobley (tenor saxophone) December 9, 1963


Some time since we took a plunge into in the soul jazz pool, so prompted by LJC reader Kev’s suggestion, here we go, last one in’s a sissy.

Freddie played the Hammond B3 organ in the 60’s golden age of soul jazz organ. Comparison with Jimmy Smith is inevitable, being such a dominant force in this style of jazz. So when the needle bit the groove, there was a sense of relief this was not going to be another death-by-Hammond bravura performance. Eschewing the relentless attack of too much of Jimmy Smith, Roach cooks with  a blues and gospel swing, building up a laid-back groove with plenty of space to stretch out. He is quite capable of stabbing the Hammond keys at the right time and place, but the addition  of brass to the ensemble on three tracks adds welcome texture and interest, with Hank Mobley in particular  a real highlight, picking up on the soulful groove in his solos. More Mobley is always good news, and Mitchell swings happily too.

Somewhere on my shelves are a number of Big John Patton albums that stylistically fill the same musical space. Whilst undeniably easy on the ear, there is perhaps a sameness of sound of many soul-jazz organ records, which I put down partly to the organ-trio format, and partly the substitution of bass with the Hammond pedals.  This Roach outing, like some early Smith, manages to rise above the simple organ, guitar and drums formula, and offers some tasteful listening that went well with the lights down and glass in hand. I am glad I was prompted to take it for another spin, especially as I had forgotten about the Mobley tracks. Hat tip, Kev.

Roach recorded four other titles for Blue Note, compared with ten by Big John Patton (and no less than twenty-seven titles from Jimmy Smith, which probably accounts for collector fatigue).

Freddie Roach BLP 4113, 4128, 4168 and 4190:


As with Mobley on Good Move, collaboration with Joe Henderson marks out the Brown Sugar title, and tenor player Conrad Lester on the other titles, some of which also feature Kenny Burrell on guitar.  All these added ingredients to my mind make Freddie’s records stand out from the crowded field of soul jazz organ.

LJC Poll: Jazz Heroes of the Hammond

Hammond B3Time for a quick poll, I think, about your Jazz Heroes of the Hammond. Here’s two dozen I could think of off the top of my head. Heros includes heroines. I’ve drawn a line in the sand between jazz organists and the rock pop soul R&B gang, though no doubt some will differ about who belongs where, and the “Sacrilege! You’ve left out Little Shorty Peawinkle!” crowd will have something to grumble about. Tough. It’s not my specialist subject, give’s a break.

I’m going to make it easy this time – you get five choices. Be sure to cast your five votes in the one session, no second chances. Vote now. (And don’t forget to give one of your votes to Larry Young. Not that I’m trying to influence you in any way)

What ever happened to Freddie Roach?


After several titles for Prestige in 1966-7, Roach musically disappeared, it is said having moved to France, after which he was not heard from again. Or so wiki states and everyone repeats.(You have to be careful with the internet, often it’s just one voice in an echo chamber)

I’ll let blogger DownWithIt (our Kev) pick up the story:

The few short biographies that I have seen tend to end along the lines of ‘…he moved to France, after which he was not heard from again.’ A little bit more digging discloses that he spent a few years in Paris and Bob Blumenthal’s notes written when taking ‘a new look at Ike Quebec’s Heavy Soul session for the RVG Edition records the year of his death as 1980. The notes to So Blue so Funky, a Blue Note Hammond organ compilation album released in 1991, even state that Freddie enjoyed a second career as a movie actor….

LJC says:

I can add nothing other than to add France is a good as any place to disappear, in fact, better than most. Good move, indeed. If you know anything of Freddie Roach’s whereabouts, we are all ears. I expect he is owed a rather large royalty cheque.

Vinyl: BST 84518 – NY labels but no ear i.e. early Liberty press – VAN GELDER Stereo master



Collectors Corner

Source: Ebay (October 2010) Described as “Blue Note New York” the seller of course didn’t mention the absence of the ear.

Roach Popsyched!

Always surprisingly the premium for top condition: Near Mint/ “looks unplayed” Review Copy has the high-end collectors salivating. Of course those are with ear, unlike my humble Liberty press, but even so, the competition as I recall was pushed up due to the mere mention of Hank Mobley.

Popsike Roach Good Move

I’m quite happy with my Liberty/Blue Note with New York labels, no upgrade required. The difference between a 1964 Blue Note and these early Liberty 1966-7 pressings is negligible, especially where both are derived from a source Van Gelder Stereo master. End of the day, that’s what counts.

19 thoughts on “Freddie Roach: Good Move (1963) Blue Note + poll Heroes of the Hammond

  1. Listening to this one at this very moment, LJC. Mine too is an earless NY but is mono instead of stereo. It really does sound fantastic; I bought it mainly for the presence of Mobley and Mitchell since those guys hardly ever let you down….but I was interested to hear other organists besides Jimmy Smith whom I like but always good to mix it up. Very nice album and pairs well with a fine summer ale ;’)

  2. Thanks to the work of a brilliant American contributor, I’ve managed to find out rather more about the last years preceding Freddie Roach’s untimely death in 1980. You can read about it here, if interested:-

    For those of you who are interested in the Hammond organ, the fascinating Pete Fallico hosts a great website and resource at:

  3. Larry Young takes the top spot in the LJC’s reader’s poll!!!

    YESSSSSSS !!!!

    There is some justice after all.

    One huge surprise (to me at least) was Jack McDuff at # 4 spot (I didn’t think he would get anywhere near the top-10). The guy was every bit a Hammond C-3 Colossus as Jimmy Smith, Larry Young or John Patton. in some ways, perhaps even more so.

    Kudos and hosannas to everyone who participated on their fine and exquisite, ahem….organ preferences.

    • Interesting – thanks for the tip! I see there is some discussion about Melvin on Organissimo, but for some reason he’s never registered on the ol’ radar. That’s quite a band he’s got on the Jazzland LP…

  4. I love Freddie Roach, and think that a couple of his Prestige albums – Soul Book and Mocha Motion – may be better than his Blue Note releases.

    I’ve been trying to find my copy of the So Blue So Funky CD – the vinyl doesn’t have the sleeve note – and I can’t. I’m pretty sure that they were written by former NME journalist Roy Carr who knew his stuff – he worked for Alfred Lion for a while in the sixties representing Blue Note in the UK – so are probably correct. Other than that I’ve failed to find any note of what became of him, or confirmation of Roy’s word from another source.


    • Absolutely right Dean- the sleeve notes for So Blue, So Funky Vol 1 were penned by Roy Carr. He wrote: “…fleet-fingered Freddie enjoyed a secondary career as a movie actor” which is where I picked up on that strand. Unfortunately, I don’t know what roles he took… …yet!

  5. Roach has been poorly served by CD reissues of his BN output. All his BN albums are pretty strong with only “All that’s good” proving a little challenging with his use of voices. If you like it then try ” Andrew Hill’s “Lift every voice” and Booby Hutcherson’s “Now” both feature similarly adventurous use of voices.

  6. I love this album by Freddie Roach, still only on the evil silver disk in my collection. I’d love to own this one on vinyl, even as a Liberty pressing.

    For once I’m voting outside of the ‘jazz box’: given my seventies funk collecting years I only voted for the organ players that released some outstandingly funky albums in those days: Larry Young, Brother Jack McDuff, Jimmy McGriff, Dr Lonnie Smith (not to be confused with Lonnie Liston Smith) and Charles Earland. I felt sorry for not being able to add Richard “Groove” Holmes to the list, with only five choices to be made, but then still there are some more names that deserve their place in the voting list. 🙂

  7. Thanks very much for this post- and I’m glad that you enjoyed giving this set another listen. It is very easy to buy, listen once and then forget- indeed I started blogging because it requires me to play albums over several times before I’m ready to write.
    I’m tempted to think that Blue Mitchell and Hank Mobley were enjoying themselves and I particularly like the Baptist beat sound of Wine, Wine, Wine.
    The Newark Club 83 reference (sleeve notes) is an interesting one and FR’s later and fine Soul Book set included two musicians who may still be active as part of a loose grouping of Newark artists who are referenced on the Newark Jazz Elders website (although I haven’t heard anything from the site owner, who I contacted a few months ago).
    I’m wondering if any visitors here ever saw FR play or if anybody knows anything more?
    If I’m not mistaken, poor FR was omitted from your voting list- so he got my ‘other’ vote. It was great to see Barbara Dennerlein in there too.

    • How embarrassing! I can’t believe I forgot to include Roach in a poll in Post on Roach. Duh! He’s there now. Thanks.
      Hopefully he’ll pick up votes later today when more folk get online after a hard day’s Christmas shopping.

      I’ve not seen any of the greats, but I did used to have a Hammond B3 in my band back in the Sixties. I remember it being bloody heavy to manhandle up a flight of stairs. One of these days I’ll post up rip of LJC’s band circa 1967 – that’s more of a threat than a treat, you understand.

  8. Awesome! I always loved Freddie’s sound, with vibrato V3 on the lower manual, and here’s a big difference with Jimmy Smith and all the other organ players. And on this particular record there is some guy called Hank, who plays sax.

    And about the poll, just five? You call it easy? I couldn’t vote for Jimmy Smith or Larry Young or many others I also love, so I took two of the three pre-Smith era organ players, Milt Buckner and Wild Bill Davis, both associated with Hamp. And then Joey D (I think he’s one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time), Groove and the Doc Turban. Man, I really wanted to vote all of them…

  9. Great post. I am a growing yet discerning fan of organ jazz, ranking Shirley Scott, Charles Earland, Groove Holmes, and Jimmy Smith as my favourites (so far). As a long time fan of James Brown instrumental organ records, my transition into the soul jazz world was easy.

    I agree that Jimmy Smith collectors must pull their hair in chunks trying to secure all the Blue Note output. He has a ton of Verve’s as well.

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