Monday, November 14, 2011

B-3 Bombers - Bob Stewart

Long before he became a world renowned jazz virtuoso, guitarist Pat Martino was a sideman in small combos that prominently featured the Hammond B-3 organ. He's never lost his affection for that particular group dynamic, nor his quiet flair for moving back and forth between the roles of supporting player and compelling soloist. On his new CD -- "Undeniable" -- recorded live at Blues Alley in Washington D.C. with an all-star band, Martino sounds perfectly content enhancing the rhythm section's soulful thrust while, at the same time, his post-bop, minor mode improvising is sleek and precise, and his use of sliding octaves colorfully underscore his stylistic ties to guitar great Wes Montgomery. Eric Alexander shines on tenor sax with Jeff "Tain" Watts propelling the band with his usual drive and Tony Monaco keeping the B-3 pedals to the metal.

Speaking of the B-3, Joey DeFrancesco remains the most comprehensive of jazz organ talent with the full spectrum of orchestral sounds and registrations at his finger tips and unparalleled musical sensibilities. Year after year, Joey D brings new life to jazz organ, a genre he almost single-handedly re-defined and brought into the new millennium. He has won the Down Beat Magazine Critics and Readers Polls as the top jazz organist every year since 2003. DeFrancesco's new release -- "40" -- finds him celebrating a milestone in his life and career as he turns 40-years-old. His original compositions and cover tunes here run the gamut from jaw-dropping virtuosity to funky R&B and tender ballads.

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