(Whirlwind Recordings WR4672)
Guitarist Phil Robson had long wanted to get a classic organ trio together and realised that dream last year in the company of long-time fellow Partisan Gene Calderazzo on drums and Ross Stanley on Hammond. A good few gigs ensued and the material for this CD was honed.
It’s all Robson tunes with the exception of one Dave Liebman composition (The U.S. saxophonist was in an earlier Robson band a few years back), and they show a satisfyingly wide range of moods and grooves.
Thief opens things in a modern, tricksy way with lots of changes of pace at the start, but it then settles into a roaring hard-bop work out which loosens the band up nicely.
Second Thoughts – Robson picking dampened strings, Stanley going easy on the Hammond tone in favour of a background wash of sound and Calderazzo almost playing a melody across his cymbals and toms, then leaping half-way through into full Hammond and guitar grooving solos – is more indicative of this band’s versatility and Robson’s determination to move the organ trio format on. They’ll be no endless 1960s reworkings here!
The Liebman track explores spacey sounds, while Astral is gorgeously pastoral in an English kind of way, which is a weird quality to get from an instrumentation so strongly anchored in the U.S. jazz tradition. It’s my pick of the album though it’s a hard call – there aren’t any duds.
The Phil Robson Organ Trio is on the road again, and before the album launch at the Vortex in London on Saturday, Birmingham fans get a preview at The Red Lion on Friday evening, courtesy of Birmingham Jazz. The band is also playing Herts Jazz Club at Welwyn Garden City on Sunday and the Swanage Jazz Festival on 12 July.
- For more about the Birmingham Jazz gig and to book tickets, go here.
Categories: CD review