Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio
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About Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio
Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio is a 21st century contemporary soul jazz-funk outfit based in Seattle. Their sound is marked by kinetic, driving grooves, funky breaks, and close listening improvisation. The trio features Delvon Lamarr on Hammond B-3, Jimmy James on guitar, and David McGraw on drums.
The group was formed in the spring of 2015 by Amy Novo, Lamarr's wife and the trio's manager. Lamarr had been a regular on the Seattle scene for two decades as a multi-instrumentalist — in addition to the B-3, he is a trained drummer and trumpeter, and also plays saxophone and trombone. Even after he took up the B-3 full-time, the bands he led and played in had become staples in Seattle, but Lamarr felt doomed to the "local legend" persona, and wasn't remotely satisfied stopping there. Novo suggested that he start his own band with a goal of touring and recording. While that was appealing, he felt he couldn't abide the hassle of being his own booking agent and manager. She countered by proposing that she take over his career and its administration; all he had to do was find the right musicians and create and play music.
The trio began with another guitarist, but within a year they brought on Jimmy James, a fellow Seattle scene regular. The collective chemistry was inherent from the outset. With Lamarr's soulful organ sound owing equally to Larry Young, Jimmy Smith, and late Jack McDuff, his gritty soulful sound is buoyed by James explosive, over the top vamping and dirty guitar sound and McGraw's break-heavy, in-the-pocket drumming. While the trio's sound falls under the jazz umbrella, their sound is rhythm first, and melds R&B, rock, soul, blues, fusion, and funk with spiraling improvisation and syncopation. They began playing a year-long weekly residency at Seattle's The Royal Room, where they woodshedded and developed their own tunes. They also played short tours taking them to venues all over the state as well as Oregon, Nevada, and Idaho.
Novo got the band a recording deal with Colemine Records. Their debut album, Close But No Cigar, was cut live in the studio with all three bandmembers playing together in the same room as a way of capturing their live sound on tape. The only overdubs were a few tambourine sounds. The set was issued in March of 2018. It hit number one on the Contemporary Jazz Albums chart and inside the Top Ten on the overall Jazz Albums survey. The trio signed with Boston's Kurland Agency and hit the road, headlining clubs as well as playing prestigious festivals across the U.S., including Funk 'n Waffles, the Detroit Jazz Festival, the Joshua Tree Music Festival, and the Monterey Jazz Festival. The trio followed with the Live at KEXP!, a set cut at the venerable Seattle public radio station. It was issued in various formats for Record Store Day before the close of the year.
- Seattle, WA
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