“Making records at Hitsville was a very creative process in which the whole was greater than the sum of the individual parts,” says Coffey. “That’s the part that people don’t talk about. It was the teamwork that really made those records work, that’s what we did.”
Not to say that the individual musicians weren’t bringing their distinctive talents to the sessions – that unforgettable opening guitar line on “Just My Imagination” … Coffey made that up on the spot, playing music they had never seen nor rehearsed before the
session, as was often the case. But as he puts it, he played, before anything else, what the music called for.
By contrast, Coffey’s solo work is much more singular. When he’s the featured artist, his style comes through regardless of the genre of music. Whether it’s a funk tune or a jazz standard, you can always tell it’s him.
As a traditional jazz record, what we hear on Down by the River may reflect less of the structure of Coffey’s most famous session work, and perhaps echo more of what he was playing in the listening clubs of Detroit during that same era.
As can be expected, the lineup of musicians that join Coffey on the record are some of Detroit’s best, including: Steve Adams,
Phil Whitfield, John Barron, Mark Byerly, John Rutherford, Keith Kaminski, Damon Warmack, Gayelynn McKinney and Demetrius Nabors.
Tbone Paxton & the RJ Spangler Quartet
Evidence of Soul and Body - Miles Brown
Xavier Davis - Rise Up Detroit
Ron English - Dance/Cry/Dance
Scott Gwinnell Jazz Orchestra
McKinFolk- The New Beginning - GayeLynn McKinney
Planet D Nonet
Planet D’ Nonet