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Brian Ho – Organic – Brian Ho B2B Music, 37:52 ***½:
(Brian Ho – Hammond B-3 organ; Calvin Keys – guitar; Oscar Pangilinan – tenor sax; Lorca Hart – drums)
The Hammond B-3 organ in the right hands can deliver a bright but forceful sound which fits in to variety of jazz and jazz-based styles. Brian Ho heads a group that delivers a collaborative sound in this debut release entitled Organic.
Although this collection of Ho originals and several covers comes in at a paltry thirty-seven minutes, the group makes the most of its time and provides a lively set in a variety of tempos, moods, and rhythms. Leading off with a Ho original “Tres Ritmo”, the group takes this head arrangement into jam territory with sizzling energy. ”Beat Street” is a grabber that features Lorca Hart’s drumming with a Caribbean beat.
On the next two tracks—Horace Silver’s “Song For My Father” and Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab”—the group really seems to find its groove. On the former, using the melody as a starting point, each member of the band shows his chops but it is guitarist Calvin Keys that really captures the essence of the composition with his exciting playing. On the latter, there is a funky bluesy feel that is quite infectious with both Keys and tenor man Pangilinan especially distinctive.
There are a couple of other tunes worth mentioning including Ho’s “Restoring The Faith” which has a stop–time feel where again Pangilinan’s tenor sax is forcefully showcased and “In A Sentimental Mood”  the group demonstrates how to construct a ballad.  There is no new ground broken here, but Ho and his cohorts offer a refreshing listening experience.
TrackList: Tres Ritmo; Beat Street; Song For My Father; Rehab; Artful Dodger; Restoring The Faith; In A Sentimental Mood; Reversi
—Pierre Giroux