Tom Dempsey: Saucy (2013)
Highly-regarded New York City session guitarist Tom Dempsey's sixth solo endeavor pays homage to the classic organ combo format, topped with a piquant sense of swing. Tuneful and capacious, the guitarist's dark- toned sound nicely parallels with organist Ron Oswanski's warm phrasings, synchronous progressions and sleek solos. Dempsey's Wes Montgomery-like chord solos and soul-jazz riffs are a constant, as the band occasionally raises the pitch on a program, featuring his original works and modern jazz standards. They don't break new ground, but it's largely about a symbiotic group focus, plotted with melodic motifs.
One of the more captivating pieces on the album is the trio's spin on Paul Simon's "Bridge Over Troubled Waters," as they entwine a soulful New Orleans groove with dabs of hustle and bustle. Oswanski's perky choruses help steer the familiar melody with an upbeat vibe. Dempsey digs deep with a jazzy solo, gushing with subtle inflections and bluesy note-bending instances as he reengineers the familiar theme, but also adds emphasis and circles around the core harmonic structure. His fluent, home-cooking stylizations ride above drummer Alvin Atkinson's peppery shuffle beats and they finalize the proceedings with a lighthearted funk motif.
The trio doesn't mess around and simply takes care of business while executing a no frills but qualitative spin on the jazz organ trio format, partly due to a host of strong compositions and lithe arrangements.
Track Listing: One Hundred Ways; Bock to Bock; Saucy; Ted’s Groove; Bridge Over Troubled Waters; Always Around; My Secret Love; Ceora; The Big Bailout; Pat-a-tat-tat.
Personnel: Tom Dempsey: guitars; Ron Oswanski: organ; Alvin Atkinson: drums.
Record Label: Planet Arts