There seems to be an increased appetite among jazz fans of late for the inherent soulful funkiness of a Hammond B3 organ/guitar trio. With Manhattan's club Smoke holding B3 nights each Tuesday, this genre that peaked during the ‘60s and ‘70s is back in a big way. From the first cut on guitarist Greg Skaff's Blues for Mr. T,
it is easy to see why as Skaff, Mike LeDonne (B3), and Joe Farnsworth (drums) bring that live feel right into the studio.
A tribute to sax great Stanley Turrentine, with whom Skaff honed his craft, the original four-hour session wound up for the most part a live studio set that features plenty of room for organ and guitar to show off their best. Blues for Mr. T is chock full of dexterous guitar and extra juicy B3 across ballads, blues, jazz and straight up funk.
"Baku" opens with Skaff in control and then gets real funky as B3 leads with guitar comping, until several drum breaks signal it is time for Skaff to re-join for what becomes a signature full sound. Farnsworth is solid throughout. Very steady B3 bass pedal work makes for a substantial foundation for Skaff and LeDonne to effectively decorate with quick powerful runs and trenchant chords. The title cut serves notice that Mr. T is not a dude to mess with, as it highlights the B3's incredible range and might. Skaff displays an expert command of the fretboard on the bluesy "Rambler" and the classic B3/guitar sound of "Super 80," which also features a succulent organ solo. The Freddie Hubbard composition "Delphia" begins with a delicate guitar solo before the trio takes the piece through blues, jazz, funk and gospel.
Nothing lean here. This is big, fat and high in carbs.
This review originally appeared in AllAboutJazz-New York .
Track Listing: 1. Baku (Skaff) - 6:22
2. Rambler (Skaff) - 7:31
3. Super 80 (Skaff) - 6:06
4. Blues for Mr. T (Skaff) - 7:11
5. Delphia (Hubbard) - 6:27
6. Inception (Tyner) - 9:13
7. Poundcake (Skaff) - 7:15
8. Isfahan (Ellington/Strayhorn) - 6:45
9. Highway (Skaff) - 7:34
Personnel: Greg Skaff - guitar, electric
LeDonne, Mike - organ
Farnsworth, Joe - drums