Friday, February 16, 2018

Hart, Scone & Albin's Leading the British Invasion

Here's a utterly charming idea that winds up even better than I had thought--take some of the hits from the British Invasion and turn them into jazz. Guitarist John Hart, Hammond B-3 player Adam Scone and drummer Rudy Albin Petschauer perform a small miracle by sounding so big in this effort, which is why it works so well. They even call themselves a "little big band." Petschauer explains that combining Hart's "adventurous" guitar and Scone's B-3 eliminates "musical boundaries and can seamlessly and convincingly cover all styles: Blues, jazz, rock, soul, bossa nova all fit like a glove with the right organ trio." That's the secret, indeed--each one of these classics is met with a completely different approach from the smoothest of jazz to blazing rock and roll.

Did I say classics? The trio actually broadens the definition of the British Invasion by including some recent arrivals. The opening and closing tracks are from Amy Winehouse ("Rehab" and "Back to Black"), while we also get tunes from Lorde ("Royals"), Joss Stone ("Don't Start Lyin to Me Now") and Sade ("Turning Tables"). Just before you accuse these talented musicians of cheating on the whole '60s vibe they create, they throw in a couple of Dusty Springfield hits ("The Look of Love" and "I Only Want to Be With You.") Despite the ping-ponging from decade to decade, the entire album does feel like it comes from the past, across the pond.

What's amazing about this organ blues trio is that it consists of equal partners. Scone describes the arrangement process as very collaborative: "John would create a harmony here, and Rudy would bring the undeniable beat that works best with the Hammond Organ group." The synergy of this trio is superb--they move together as one, with incredible pace and dynamics. This is the essence of a great organ trio, a persistent sense of fun and versatility. I've been hearing this singularly enjoyable theme with nearly all of the organ trios I've heard over the last few months.

This is yet another stellar release from the Zoho record label. Every single album I've reviewed from them excels in sound quality, an amazing blanket statement to make about redbook CD in 2018. I'm not sure if it's a wise strategy to select albums entirely on the basis of the record label, but Zoho is, in my opinion, is a sure thing when it comes to fun, adventurous and great-sounding contemporary jazz. Kudos to them.

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