Jul 19, 2009
Readers of this blog know that I am a huge fan of organ jazz, and include on my list of its greatest practitioners Hammond B-3 aces such as Jimmy Smith, Jack MacDuff and Jimmy McGriff. These soulful players are all gone now, but their spirit lives on with a slew of contemporary masters.
So Podcast 154 is a tribute to the Hammond Heroes of Today. I’ve intentionally left out well-known players like Sam Yahel and Joey DeFrancesco, choosing to focus on acts you might not yet have discovered. So click here, and listen to tracks in an organ way including:
Deep Blue Organ Trio - "Raspberry Beret" from Deep Blue Bruise. From Chicago comes Chris Foreman (organ), Greg Rockingham (drums) and Bobby Broom (guitar), better known as the Deep Blue Organ Trio. They skillfully mix covers of pop tunes, like this Prince song, with originals that remind me of the best of Jack MacDuff’s recordings with George Benson. If you’re near the Windy City, they appear at the noted jazz club The Green Mill every Tuesday if they are in town.
Organissimo - "Jimmy Smith Goes to Washington" from Waiting for the Boogaloo Sisters. The title alone justified inclusion in the podcast. Jim Alfredson is organ player behind this trio from Michigan . Add to him guitarist Joe Gloss and drummer Randy Marsh, and you’ve got the foundation for a group that has traces of everyone from Bernard Purdie to Frank Zappa in their sound.
Barbara Dennerlein - "I Miss You" from In A Silent Mood. Shirley Scott was the torch bearer for female Hammond B-3 players in the 1950’s and 60’s, and now Ms. Dennerlein seems poised to carry it in the new century. While Ms. Scott had here roots firmly in soul music, ms. Dennerlein seems to be more of an experimental performer, her B-3 outfitted with foot pedals that engage her MIDI synthesizer settings, allowing for a wholly different sound.
Akiko Tsuruga - "These Are Soulful Days" from Harlem Dreams. From Osaka, Japan, Ms. Tsuruga was the “go-to” organist for visiting American jazz musicians before hitting the New York scene in 2001. This was her debut album as a leader, and included important sidemen like Grady Tate and Frank Wess. For those interested in a compare and contrast, Joey DeFrancesco recorded the same number on this Ballads & Blues CD.
Nick Peck Organ Trio - "The Chicken" from Fire Trucks I Have Known. The Nick Peck Organ Trio from San Francisco sounds like the more traditional organ groups of the 1960’s. Peck plays Hammond organ and electric piano, Bill Wolter is on guitar, and Peter Thomas on Drums and percussion When they need a horn player, Erik Hoagland guests on tenor and alto sax.