Organissimo's Groovadelphia... the whole packageby Mike Matheny - RadioIO Real Jazz
I have to admit that when I preview new music from a group anchored by the jazz organ, I do so with great hope. A hope that there will be fresh creativity and diversity within the selections. So many times I receive new 'burner' albums where each song, one after the other, sounds like the same session, then repeated in reverse. I am happy this week. A new CD came into the radioIO studios from the organ based trio 'Organissimo'. The album is called 'Groovadelphia'... and it destroys all of the stereotypes.
Organissimo is led by organist Jim Alfredson with Joe Gloss on guitar and Randy Marsh playing drums and yes... harmonica! 'Groovadelphia' sure passed my test. The most notable experience I had on first listen of the CD revealed the variety from one song to the next. Once I finished the preview it became obvious to me that a major strength of this entire
package lies in the manner that each song compliments the entire package. It is evident that much thought went into the recording and production of this album.
Let me try to explain what you will experience when putting this CD in your player. Of course there is the typical bop jam as we would expect... 'Third Right On The Left'. I especially enjoyed the organ solo on this upbeat track. I couldn't keep my right hand still while listening. The tune that immediately follows is 'Traces' with a mellow Latin feel. This
song has a spatial depth created by a complimenting dialogue between Gloss on guitar and Alfredson on keys. The depth of expression from both soloists captured and held my attention. Gloss's performance on 'Traces' blended with the subtle organ support is absolutely perfect... it is simply beautiful. The entire album moves about like this. It is
rich in contrasts and diversity with constant surprises. I had to pinch myself on occasion to remember that all that I am hearing comes from only three players.
I am not usually partial to electronic effects and synthesis for jazz production unless integrated with intelligence and taste. Sometimes synthesized voices conflict with musical thought and can negatively date the production. However, done correctly, the synthetically produced sounds can be a huge draw for my personal enjoyment. I have often been
thrilled on the occasion when new voicings are used artistically such as listening to track six, 'If Not Now, When?". The use of the Synth solo in this track is fabulously integrated, providing a texture that fits.
The deliberately funky 'Bleecker' and the fun 'My Sweet Potato Pie' with Marsh on Harmonica battling it out with both Gloss and Alfredson are two of my favorite songs from 'Groovadelphia'. We are going to have these tracks and others from the CD out in front for weeks to come on radioIO Real Jazz. This is truly a magnificent collection of intelligent
arrangements and performances.