Organism: The Jazz Organ Renaissance
There has been in the last number of years a Renaissance of sorts for the jazz organ. Sam Yahel, Peter Goldstein, and Tony Monaco, all have made their mark in the jazz organ arena. The road pioneered by Jimmy Smith, Brother Jack McDuff, and Dr. Lonnie Smith has been given way to Medeski, Martin, and Wood and Soullive. Submitted for your approval are several recent organ jazz offerings, some greasy, some wholesome.
Waiting for the Boogaloo Sisters
Organissimo injects their unique brand of organ trio music with a shot of James Brown. Drummer Randy Marsh, more often that not, lays down a greasy funk, supported by organist Alfredson's pedals, that is more like a Friday Night fish fry than chicken and ribs by the river. Guitarist Joe Gloss applies a sheen of respectability to this grease before he turns up the calories and really sends the funk into overdrive. And this is al before the listener gets beyond the opener, "Meet Me @ 11."
"Jimmy Smith Goes to Washington" is a tongue-in-cheek tribute to Mr. Smith, with Alfredson emulating Smith's explosive soloing. Here the whole ensemble is in the same groove, approaching nirvana at light speed. More funk occurs on "Clap Yo' Hands." "Life Wish" is a Bossa ballad, and Pre-Dawn rain and introspective one. The disc wraps up with ten minutes of major funk on "Decoder," a piece that simmers and percolates until the soloing starts and then the piece shifts into an overdrive that has been there all along.
For more information, please see Organissimo.
Track Listing: Meet Me @ 11; Jimmy Smith Goes To Washington; Clap Yo' Hands; Life Wish; Blake's Shake; You Don't Want To Do That; Young's Dream; Pre-Dawn Rain; Decoder.
Quartet No. 1
Guitarist Mike Kennedy plays with a soulfulness that is quite characteristic of his Philadelphia home's jazz tradition. The music contained on Quartet No. 1, the electronic document of his working guitar-saxophone-organ-traps quartet is a direct extension of Jimmy Smith and Bobby Timmons without ever being derivative. This is swinging, walking bass organ jazz that never gets close to a twelve-bar blues format.
Another encouraging fact about this recording is that it presents all original compositions. These compositions all have an aurally lived in feel that that makes them very comfortable to listen to, e.g. psychically undemanding. For a taste of the true recording, cue up track 7 "For Now" which is a ten minute romp that allows Kennedy, reedist Chris Farr and organist Lucas Brown to conservatively stretch out.
Kennedy's guitar tone and performance and uncomplicated by gimmicks and technique for technique's sake. He has the chops to show off, but never falls overboard into self-worship. Kennedy's empathy with his bandmates is almost uncanny if it were not so structured. This in no way is a bad thing, for it provides the listener with well organized and thoughtful music.
For more information, please see Mike Kennedy.
Track Listing: Who Told You That; Teahouse; No Small Favor; Barrage; Something For You; Any Other Day; For Now; Six To One; Some Blues; Say It.
Personnel: Mike KennedyGuitar; Chris FarrTenor And Soprano Saxophones; Lucas BrownHammond Organ; Dan MonaghanDrums.
New Groove Blues
Collective Vibe Records
Yeager, and by proxy, Tony Monaco, are the keepers of the flame. They provide a very traditional look at the blues and ballads a la Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff. The combination of vibraphone (Yeager's instrument) and organ is a provocative one and the and the treatments tasty. The songs come from all over the map a Jimmy Smith "Old Devil Moon," a chicken shack look at "Godchild" and "Blue Bossa" all rounded up under the tent of the original "New Groove Blues. Yeager is more Milt Jackson that Stefon Harris and Monaco is more Jimmy McGriff than Groove Holmes. All of this distills into a pure spirit of soul jazz well played.
For more information, please see Steve Yeager .
Track Listing: Old Devil Moon; Easy Does It; Godchild; The Look Of Love; New Groove Blues; Blue Bossa; Home; Lisa; Face To Face.
Personnel: Steve YeagerVibraphone; Tony MonacoHammond B-3 Organ; Clay Moore Guitar; Phil HeyDrums.
Friday Night Special
As a founding member of the Manhattan Transfer, Janis Siegel need not prove her jazz credentials. She has been recording as a vocal leader since 1982, when she released Experiment in White on Atlantic. She has released six more recordings since that time, including the well received Tender Trap , I Wish You Love , and now Friday Night Special.
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