Review Summary: An important gateway album for those looking to explore jazz.
Sup fellas? Let me have a quick word. Have you heard about the bodacious rhythms and melodies of jazz and want to start exploring the genre? Have you been a dope and dived in at the deep end and bellowed: 'this is not for me'? Well how about having a listen to 1977's 'Tico Rico' by Hank Crawford - an album as genius as it is accessible.
Hank Crawford was a master of the saxophone and has played with musical giants such as Ray Charles, Eric Clapton and B.B. King, so it makes perfect sense that the alto saxophone is the stand-out instrument on this record. Whether it's the clever, but simple, melody which gives further life to the bombastic bass line of the opening track 'Tico Rico', or the out and out beauty of 'Lady Soul', the listener will be dazzled by Crawford's mouth-watering sound.
Hardened jazz heads will also buzz off this one. It's true that jazz is full of rewarding gems such as 'Bitches Brew', but we all have to admit that sometimes it's nice to spin a record as background music, or to simply relax. I'm a progger, but I don't feel the need to constantly analyse 'Close to the Edge', or 'Lizard'. This is where 'Tico Rico' will never get old in your collection - you will find yourself returning to it more often than you'd expect, because more often than not music should be enjoyed and not torn to shreds.
I can't stress enough how important this album is if you're contemplating broadening your horizons. When I first heard this record I delved deep into the discography of not only Hank Crawford, but the likes of Ray Charles and Herbie Hancock. Someone once told me if you don't like 'Kind of Blue' by Miles Davis then jazz isn't your thing. I am convinced that the same can be said about 'Tico Rico'.