PW: egroj

sábado, 9 de diciembre de 2017

The RJ Spangler Trio • This Is What We Do



Detroit has always been a home for a multitude of jazz traditions. From big band to swing, from hard bop to the avant-garde, any jazz style can be heard in a given week. The city has especially embraced the organ trio, that staple of neighborhood joints found throughout the urban landscape. Veteran drummer and bandleader RJ Spangler has made that ubiquitous instrument his bread and butter for quite a while. Spangler (who, incidentally, is the nephew of the legendary San Francisco DJ Bud Spangler) has been a fixture on the Detroit music scene for over 30 years, and has been affiliated with some notable Detroit acts. Spangler co-founded the legendary R&B/jazz ensemble the Sun Messengers and has toured and recorded with blues greats Johnnie Bassett, Joe Weaver and Alberta Adams. He even hired a very young James Carter for some of the saxophonist's first gigs. Spangler's most interesting Endeavor, however may be his Planet D Nonet, which may be the only Sun Ra tribute band in the country.
Spangler's bread and butter is his organ trio, which is featured on the superb EP, This Is What We Do. What gives this hit some attraction is its getting some solid radio airplay throughout the Midwest and the prior buzz is well-deserved. Spangler's been with his cats for many years, making this a very tight set. The date is all standards except for one each by the Neil Creque and Big John Patton. Stylistically, Spangler' s crew prefers the breezy melodicism of guitarist Grant Greens Blue Note sessions over Jimmy Smith's gutbucket funk.
The trio starts off with a casual rendition of "Don't Blame Me," featuring some great interplay between organist Duncan Mcmillan and guitarist Ralph Tope. A relaxed "Girl Talk" is followed by some fired-up play on Creque's "Cease The Bombing," highlighting that the late keyboardist's work is really overlooked. After a languid "Idle Moments," the group shifts into high gear on "All Or Nothing At All," and blasts to the finish line with a John Patton burner "Funky Mama." McMillan and Tope really tear up on this piece, showing their Motown funk credentials prodigiously.
There is not a lot of flash, but it is solid blue-collar funk. Spangler and company show that the Motor City can hang with Philly when it comes to the B-3 genre.


domingo, 3 de diciembre de 2017

Don Patterson • Holiday Soul



Ray Bryant • Ray Bryant Trio



Review by Ron Wynn
Pianist Ray Bryant solidified his reputation with this outstanding 1957 trio release. It displayed his facility with the blues, speed, gospel influence, and interpretive abilities on such songs as John Lewis' "Django" and Clifford Brown's "Daahoud." It also contained Bryant's funky originals "Splittin" and "Blues Changes," and was punctuated by Ike Isaacs' careful bass work and Specs Wright's loose, in the groove drumming. This set has recently been reissued by Fantasy, and the remastering provides a fine sonic framework for Bryant's heady, unpredictable, and often exciting playing.


Richard ''Groove'' Holmes • Get Up & Get It



Review by Stewart Mason
The organ trio format is so ensconced in the minds of soul-jazz fans that hearing this album, which puts Richard "Groove" Holmes' funky Hammond B3 in the context of a larger group, sounds odd and over-produced at first. Putting Holmes' bottom-heavy instrument against a guitar-bass-drums trio and then adding Teddy Edwards' tenor saxophone on top to take most of the melody lines sounds on paper like it should be a thick, muddy mess, but thankfully, Holmes' sidemen are up to the task at hand and steer clear of over-playing. The great Paul Chambers, one of the best bassists of the post-bop generation, mostly leaves the bottom to Holmes' left hand, leaving himself free to add intriguing little accents and filigrees to the rhythm, and guitarist Pat Martino wisely avoids the temptation to do much more than comp unobtrusively and take the occasional brief solo. Billy Higgins, of course, is one of the great drummers of his time and plays solidly throughout. The original "Groove's Blue Groove" is a particular highlight, but the entire album is worthy.