Alive & Kickin'
(Big O Records ***)
Organ jazz isn't exactly a happenin' genre, but the Michigan-based Organissimo struck a blow with 2008's Groovadelphia, which paid tribute to the key role that Philadelphians played in organ jazz's heyday.
Now the trio returns with this crackling disc, recorded live at WKAR-TV in East Lansing, Mich. Guitarist Joe Gloss and organist Jim Alfredson on the Hammond-Suzuki XK3 create some mesmerizing moments. Drummer Randy Marsh is an old sideman of Philly organist Shirley Scott, so he's got some cred for this work.
The pace is rapid-fire, except when it's in steamy ballad mode. "Jimmy Smith Goes to Washington" shows the trio's flying style, while "Clap Yo' Hands" is more soul-oriented and "Pumpkin Pie" cooks at a more sensual pace before it gets all gooey at the end with histrionic sound effects. Frank Zappa's "Blessed Relief" also gets reverent treatment here from Gloss and Alfredson, who focus otherwise on originals. The set still reaches some righteous temperatures.
Karl Stark - Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/18/2010