Brian Charette – Will Bernard – Rudy Royston – Alphabet City – Posi-Tone PR8140, 51:22 ****:
(Brian Charette – B-3 organ; Will Bernard – guitar; Rudy Royston – drums)
Mark Twain once famously wrote: “the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”. Much the same can be said for the organ trio, whose premature demise has been predicted since its heyday in the ‘60s. Brian Charette and the trio have no intention of hastening this outcome, and have put together an album called Alphabet City that has a rhythmic articulation that is both authoritative and chilled-out.
Without a cover in sight, Charette has written all the tunes with a tip of his fedora to the neighbourhood that is located within the East Village of New York City. With a mixture of jazz, soul, funk, and fusion, Charette and the band have exposed all the musical bases, starting with the appropriately named “East Village”. Replete with bop lines, the tune swings along in up-tempo fashion with guitarist Bernard and drummer Royston pushing Charette to range over the keyboard in exemplary fashion. The bookend to that number is “West Village” which is change of pace, but swinging none-the-less, more in soul-jazz manner with tons of solo space for Charette. Guitarist Bernard also demonstrates that he can keep pace on the fret-board.
Despite the title, “Disco Nap” stays away from the genre’s excesses. The band delivers a solid swinger, with guitarist Bernard roaming at will, delivering playing that fits the theme, and segues into a full blast conclusion. Ever since Fats Waller first introduced the pipe organ to jazz, the organ found favour with the listening audience due to its versatility. However, the pipe organ lacked portability and when the Hammond Company developed the portable B-3 electric organ in 1935, versatility and portability were combined. However in the wrong hands, the instrument could produce squeals and growls that were a turn-off. Jimmy Smith later really brought the B-3 into the mainstream of jazz. Brian Charette has avoided pitfalls and so whether he is using the pedals for a full-bass sound on “Detours”, or rocking out a blues-line on “The Vague Reply” he and his cohorts offer an adventurous sense of organ locomotion.
TrackList: East Village; They Left Fred Out; West Village; Not A Purist; Sharpie Moustache; Disco Nap; Hungarian Major; Avenue A; Detours; Split Black; White Lies; The Vague Reply