Brian Charette – Beyond Borderline – Steeplechase DCD 760 – 62:40 – ****
Brian Charette is a Hammond B3 organist, who enjoys pushing the envelope a bit. He can groove with the best of them, as evidenced by his selection, back in 2014, as Downbeat Magazine’s Rising Star on organ in their poll. However, he digs going out of the typical comfort range that the public ects from a Hammond B3 organ.
His 2013 Steeplechase CD, Borderline, was done as a solo project. Seven years later, he revisits this concept, this time using mostly his own compositions that he had explored in group settings in his career. The groove remains, but new tonal colors are added. The bass pedals provide arock solid formation for experimentation to occur.
The opener, “Yolk” is bass heavy and would be at home in an arena setting. It hums with vibrancy. “Wish List” would be a hit in a haunted house at Halloween. It ticks with menace. The classic “Chelsea Bridge” from Ellington/Strayhorn is given a respectful reading, and is a sumptuous ballad.
“Girls” changes directions a few times and would reward a “repeat” button on your CD player.”Hungarian Bolero” is not a tune you’d find on a typical Hammond B3 led issue. Replete with dark menace, think Bela Lugosi plotting revenge in a dark laboratory, and you’d be halfway there.
“Silicone Doll” is a droll comment on Billy Strayhorn channeling Oliver Messiaen, the French composer/organist, noted for his rhythmically complex compositions.
Two relatively new Charette tracks follow- “Aligned Arpeggio” and “Herman Ernst III.” The former is contemplative, while the latter, written to honor the New Orleans drummer, swings like mad. The closing track, “Public Transportation,” has a bebop vibe, with an added scoop of edginess.
Beyond Borderline will appeal both to Hammond B3 freaks, as well as those that appreciate moving beyond standard Hammond B3 fare. Hipsters and groovers unite…
Prelude to a Kiss
5th of Rye
Herman Ernst III