Mike LeDonne, Hammond B-3 organ – On Fire, Live at Smoke, NYC – Savant

by | Sep 5, 2006 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Mike LeDonne, Hammond B-3 organ – On Fire, Live at Smoke, NYC – Savant 2080,  72:52 ****:

(Artists: Mike LeDonne, Hammond B-3 organ; Eric Alexander, tenor sax; Peter Bernstein, electric guitar; Joe Farnsworth, drums)

Mike LeDonne holds center stage most every Tuesday at New York’s hot Upper West Side small jazz club, Smoke, during their Hammond B-3 gigs. Though normally known as a pianist, LeDonne’s love for the greasy Hammond B-3 organ is evident as 6 years of Tuesday night Hammond sessions would tend to show. Having on board the cream of the Big Apple’s young jazz stars: Eric Alexander on tenor; Peter Bernstein, arguably the best young jazz guitarist in the country; and Joe Farnsworth, the first call drummer for any NYC Hammond session, makes for a funky good time. It rivals a 1960s Blue Note or Prestige recording session. This session was so flawless that it took only three months to hit the streets!

Including a soul classic, Could It be I’m Falling in Love, along with Charles Earland’s Spinky, and Duke Pearson’s Grant Green classic, Idle Moments, allows the band to to concentrate on having fun knowing the groove table is set. As the saying goes, “It’s In the Bag,” – which is also the closing tune on this CD.

LeDonne dedicates On Fire to his young daughter, Mary, who suffers from the rare Prader-Willie Syndrome, which afflicts only one baby in every 15,000. Prayer for Mary – the longest cut on the CD is a plaintive spiritual that features Eric Alexander and Peter Bernstein. Bernstein’s own tune, Bones (named for his dog) is a winning blues number. Nat Adderley’s In the Bag, was rearranged for the Hammond, and closes out LeDonne’s funkfest.

When you need  some warming Hammond B-3, say on some cold and dreary winter Tuesday night, and you are not on the Upper West Side of the Big Apple, pop this CD onto your player and be prepared for a little fire Live at Smoke. It’ll warm you right up…..

Songs: Could It Be I’m Falling in Love, Spinky, Idle Moments, At Long Last Love, Prayer for Mary, Bones, In the Bag

– Jeff Krow

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