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East Harlem Skyline

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Album Review

Virtuoso N.Y.C.-based guitarist and composer Greg Skaff launched his career in the '80s with sax great Stanley Turrentine, laying a five-year foundation that in turn led Skaff to an exciting career as a sideman working in the studio or live with everyone from Bobby Watson, Ruth Brown, Freddie Hubbard, and David "Fathead" Newman to Kevin Mahogany, Gloria Lynne, and Matt Wilson. In 2004, he stepped out with his own organ trio on the well-received debut Ellington Boulevard, which had him jamming with Hammond B-3 master Mike LeDonne and drummer Joe Farnsworth. As he looks jammingly toward the East Harlem Skyline with verve, swing, and crisp electric joy and precision, he's working with some new players — George Colligan on the B-3 and drummer E.J. Strickland; track one, the distorted, hypnotic funk jam original "Willie D," was from another session and features George Laks (B-3) and Charlie Drayton (drums). With that rousing start out of the way, Skaff gets down to business with his regular guys, darting swiftly in and out of the organ harmony swells and snappy skinning on "Contrary to Popular Motion" and "Twenty Three," then simmering down for some cool chillout here and there (the meditative "Tropicalia"). Complementing his six compelling mood-swinging originals are well-rendered covers of popular tracks by Wayne Shorter (the shimmering, densely bluesy "Angola"), Billy Strayhorn (the thoughtful ballad "Lotus Blossom"), and Fiona Apple (a distortion-filled rock jam spin on the aptly titled "Fast as You Can"). Looking at the skyline, the jazz blues aficionado will be grooving mightily with Greg Skaff.

East Harlem Skyline, Greg Skaff
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  • $9.90
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Feb 17, 2009

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