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Album Review

For their third CD, Organissimo plays the field of contemporary jazz idioms. Of course, with the solid organ of Jim Alfredson, there's a strong sense of soul-jazz, and the band has capably performed short, catchy tunes and funky music that appeals to a more youth oriented audience. A sense of stretching past retro-Philly or Motown groove into original fusion is here as indicated by Alfredson's use of electric pianos alongside his Hammond XK3 organ. Randy Marsh re-doubles his focus as a funk drummer along the lines of Bernard Purdie, and guitarist Joe Gloss is a tasteful and inventive player reflective of the rhythm and soul players in the '60s, moving ahead into current hip jazz. The CD starts off well enough in expected, danceable territory with the basic, straight, no-frills 4/4 title track, an intriguing combo of New Orleans/Brazilian-fortified "Señor Buffet," and the 12-bar blues shuffle "Third Right on the Left." But the recording takes a turn toward a warmer California sound with oceanic synthesizer and acoustic guitar on the mood piece "Traces," and a throwback two-note bass groove, African drum style, and Fender Rhodes piano inform the electric guitar of Gloss on "Danco de Alma." Fans of this band should not be surprised, as they have embraced music of Frank Zappa, somewhat commercial, and jazz-rock fusion styles before. A modulated Moog sounds like a woo-ee theremin on the delicate slow waltz "If Not Now, When?," while Alfredson plays a beautiful, spiritual, floating legato Rhodes solo on "Rhodesia" (cute title) recalling something Alice Coltrane might conceive. Gloss is closest to his east coast chitlin' circuit influences of George Benson, Pat Martino, and Melvin Sparks on the straight funk "Bleecker," while Marsh's excellent harmonic work is overdubbed with his fine drumming on the Ray Charles styled waltz "Sweet Potato Pie" — a little swing, a little country, and a whole lot of soul. Representing a more refined approach, Organissimo's playing on Groovadelphia represents distilling their influences and asserting more clout while making new original music based on the teachings of the old masters in a non-assimilated, fresh manner. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Groovadelphia, Organissimo
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