Down Beat (3/96, p.46) - 3.5 Stars - Good/Very Good - "...Patton's organ style is intact: not as over-the-top as some B-3ers, he's happy to sit on a cool change and he's extremely deliberate in his solos....Zorn does most of the completely bonkers work..."
Living Blues (1-2/96, p.95) - "One of the most distinctive of the post-Jimmy Smith organists to emerge in the 1960s....This is a splendid album with none of the `retro' feel of other recent organ dates..."
Personnel: Big John Patton (Hammond B-3 organ); Rorie Nichols (vocals); John Zorn (alto saxophone); Bill Saxton (tenor & soprano saxophones); Pete Chavez (tenor saxophone); Ed Cherry (guitar); Eddie Gladden (drums); Lawrence Killian (congas).
Recorded at Skyline Studios, New York on April 12 & 13, 1993. Includes liner notes by Harvey Pekar.
Personnel: Rorie Nichols (vocals); Ed Cherry (guitar); Bill Saxton (soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); John Zorn (alto saxophone); Pete Chavez (tenor saxophone); Eddie Gladden (drums); Lawrence Killian (congas).
Liner Note Author: Harvey Pekar .
Recording information: Skyline Studios, New York, NY (04/12/1993/04/13/1993).
Photographers: Alan Nahigian; Thelma Patton.
Though Big John Patton isn't the innovator that Larry Young was, it would be a mistake to think of him as being strictly a soul-jazz player. Patton can get funky, to be sure, but he hasn't been afraid to venture into post-bop territory and take the Hammond B-3 away from traditional soul-jazz settings. Recorded when the organist was 57, Blue Planet Man is an unpredictable set that ranges from grits-and-gravy soul-jazz to more intellectual post-bop. Patton gets into a funky, down-home soul-jazz groove on "Funky Mama," and vocalist Rorie Nichols has a very R&B-minded cameo on "What's Your Name?." Yet Patton is very Thelonious Monk-ish on the angular "Popeye" and is just as cerebral on "Bama" and Archie Shepp's "U-Jaama." In fact, one of the CD's main soloists is alto saxman John Zorn, who is primarily known for playing avant-garde and free jazz. Not one of Patton's essential releases, Blue Planet Man is definitely enjoyable and well-intended -- the album reminds us that Patton can hardly be considered one-dimensional. ~ Alex Henderson