Jazz CD Reviews

Organissimo – Alive and Kickin’! – Big O Records

Michigan’s favorite soul-jazz group releases their first live CD.

Published on May 22, 2010

Organissimo – Alive and Kickin’! – Big O Records

Organissimo – Alive and Kickin’! – Big O Records 2414, 76:17 ****:

(Jim Alfredson – Hammond-Suzuki XK3/XK System, Leslie 3300, synthesizers; Joe Gloss – guitar; Randy Marsh – drums)

Organissimo has cultivated a tightly-constructed jazz sound over the last decade. Based on a flawless chemistry and ebullient compositions, this trio has built a loyal and growing fan base across the country. With the release of their highly anticipated live CD, Alive and Kickin’!, recorded at the WKAR-TV studios at Michigan State University and Founders Brewing Co., their ascent continues.

This set of nine tracks, with eight original compositions (previously recorded on prior studio CDs), showcases the dynamic musicianship and rapport of these musicians. Jim Alfredson’s mastery of the organ provides a steady backdrop to the different tempos and arrangements.

In the uptempo opening number, “Stomp Yo’ Feet”, Alfredson, and guitarist Joe Gloss create a rhythmic timing, switching off lead work seamlessly. On the two funk-based pieces, “Groovadelphia” and “Clap Yo’ Hands”, the trio hits a balanced interplay with groove organ and guitar riffs, punctuated by Randy Marsh’s syncopated drum breaks. A Latin-infused, “Senor Buffet” allows the trio some room for extended improvisation.  There are homages to musical influences, with the breezy and bluesy “Jimmy Smith Goes To Washington”, and an interesting version of a Frank Zappa opus, “Blessed Relief”, reminding the listener of the jazz application of this sonic pioneer.

The transcendent, “If Not Now, When?” is a truly inspirational jam, with an evocative and atmospheric organ lead that includes a synthesizer. It is highlighted by melodic shifts and delicate phrasing.  Appropriately, the final track is an eighteen minute gospel-blues extravaganza, “Pumpkin Pie,” that allows the players to explore and create sounds and textures.

TrackList: Stomp Yo’ Feets; Senor Buffet; Smokin’ Section; If Not Now, When?; Jimmy Smith Goes To Washington: Clap Yo’ Hands; Groovadelphia; Bonus tracks: Blessed Relief; Pumpkin Pie

— Robbie Gerson   

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