Jazz CD Reviews

NightCrawlers Vol. 3 – Cellar Live

A solid good-time session from a dedicated band.

Published on October 23, 2013

NightCrawlers Vol. 3 – Cellar Live

NightCrawlers Vol. 3 – Cellar Live CL030913, 55:33 ****:

(Cory Weeds – alto saxophone; Steve Kaldestad – tenor saxophone; Dave Sikula – guitar; Chris Gestrin – Hammond B-3 organ; Jesse Cahill – drums)

The most common definition for a nightcrawler is: “a large earthworm found on the soil surface at night and used for fish bait”. However a more urban definition that has recently emerged is more suggestive: “a person that prefers night to day; moonlight to daylight”. So for a classic organ-based jazz band that’s into a funky/soul vibe, the latter definition works best and the music played on NightCrawlers Vol. 3 definitely falls into that category.

Recorded live at Cory Weeds’ Cellar Jazz Club in Vancouver, British Columbia, the band rocks out in a solid groove reminiscent of those ‘60s groups which had a B-3 organ foundation with a front line that could hold their own against the crushing volume created by the B-3. Under the leadership of drummer Jess Cahill, the band follows in the tradition of those groups that were led by the likes of Brother Jack McDuff, Big John Patton, each of whom is recognized through their compositions that sprinkle the session such as “Snap Back Jack”, “Misconstrued” and “Latona”. As the band takes up these themes with a bright, resourceful and effervescent dynamic, the soloists stay in the moment with the B-3 pulling it all together with funky effectiveness.

Looking to emulate these antecedents, guitarist Dave Sikula and organist Chris Gestrin took on the composing challenge for the other tunes in the set. While for the most part they all follow predictable lines, there are two standouts both by organist Gestrin. Starting with the longest track in the set “Mic It Up (Barker Style)” the tune opens with a loose feeling with some unison playing with Weeds alto and Kaldestad’s tenor. After an extended interlude from Gestrin, Kaldestad’s tenor takes over and sets the tone for the balance of the tune with long and inventive solo filled with form and know-how. On “Bone In” which has a semi-Latin flavor, Gestrin weaves an interesting organ solo with much upper-register playing, but it is really Cory Weed’s alto which takes center stage here. On previous releases he has concentrated on tenor where from time to time he seems to be a bit at sea, but here he is in full command of his instrument and is very effective.

All in all this is a solid good-time session from a dedicated band.

TrackList: The Sendoff; Grey Matter; Snap Back Jack; Mic It Up (Barker Style); Misconstrued; Bone In; Latonia; The Sendoff (Chaser)

—Pierre Giroux

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