Something Else Reviews - Review
this organ trio-based effort is a hard-driving blend of jazz, funk and rock that isn't loaded down with unnecessary filler, just lean, vintage grooves.
Pete Levin Certified Organic
An aptly titled album, this organ trio-based effort is a hard-driving blend of jazz, funk and rock that isn't loaded down with unnecessary filler, just lean, vintage grooves. Coming on the heels of this keyboardist's first Hammond B-3-led release Deacon Blues, this one largely follow the same script.
Levin has mainly made his mark over the course of thirty-plus years scoring for TV commercials, drama series and feature films, as well as extended stints in the Gil Evans Orchestra and Jimmy Giuffre's band. He's also the brother of bassist extraordinaire Tony Levin, and both have played together in, among other projects, a Spike Jones tribute band.
Even within the fairly narrow realm of organ trio jazz, Levin mixes things up enough to hold your interest. "I'm Falling" is a James Brown-styled blues number, while "When I Was Young" gently swings. Selections like "The Question For U" comes closer to the rock side, making this sound akin to the power-organ trio Niacin than to Jimmy Smith. "Where Flamingos Fly" is plaintive adaptation of a classic Gil Evans piece.
Covers include a nicely remade version of "Love For Sale" and Moacir Santos' "Nana." Jaco Pastorious' "Teen Town" is tackled, too, in one of the few versions not centered around a bass player.
Using a revolving cast of guitarists, most notably Joe Beck, each brings the right style to suit the song. Erik Lawrence, the son of former colleague Arnie Lawrence, expands the trio to a quartet for a couple of tracks.
All told, this is a consistently good effort, providing solid grooves that are edgy enough to avoid the "smooth jazz" tag but contemporary enough to pull in listeners outside of the straight jazz crowd. Certified Organic became available on July 22
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