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Craig Yaremko Organ Trio: CYO3 (2013)

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Craig Yaremko Organ Trio: CYO3 How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

When saxophonist Craig Yaremko was in college at the New School, one of his mentors—the esteemed Jane Ira Bloom
Jane Ira Bloom
Jane Ira Bloom

sax, soprano
—heard him playing with an organ group. Right then and there she said, "Craig, your sound was made to play with an organ trio." Now, more than a decade later, Yaremko is proving her right.

Yaremko relates that story in the introductory passage of his self-penned liner notes for CYO3, the debut recording from his organ trio. In that same introduction, he also praises organ-centric classics like Jimmy Smith
Jimmy Smith
Jimmy Smith
1925 - 2005
organ, Hammond B3
's Back At The Chicken Shack (Blue Note, 1963) and Larry Young
Larry Young
Larry Young
1940 - 1978
organ, Hammond B3
's Unity (Blue Note, 1966), citing both as major influences; his music, interestingly enough, rarely resembles what's heard on either one. The deep-seated, churn-and-burn groove play of Smith and the into-the-great-beyond boldness of Young are occasionally hinted at during this winning program of originals and classics, but Yaremko doesn't subscribe to either approach. Instead, Yaremko looks at the organ trio from multiple angles, showing depth of artistry and character all the while.

CYO3 kicks off with organist Matt King's clever, metrically altered arrangement of Fats Waller
Fats Waller
Fats Waller
1904 - 1943
piano
's "Jitterbug Waltz," which possesses a puckish wit balanced out by a down home sensibility. With this number, Yaremko immediately makes it clear that these won't be paint-by-numbers performances. This trend continues with traded eights on a twelve bar blues ("Blue Fontaine"), an odd metered Latin take on Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
Thelonious Monk
1917 - 1982
piano
("Bye-Ya") and a version of a Freddie Hubbard
Freddie Hubbard
Freddie Hubbard
1938 - 2008
trumpet
classic that finds Yaremko's almost-reedy-and-matte-finished alto flute up front ("Little Sunflower"). "Oil Slick"—Yaremko's propulsive contrafact on "What Is This Thing Called Love?"—comes next, with clipped phrases and driving rhythms, but it's his forthright approach on Billy Strayhorn
Billy Strayhorn
Billy Strayhorn
1915 - 1967
piano
's balladic "Isfahan" that makes the bigger impact. Yaremko's directness here, and on late-in-the-game offerings like "Simply Stated" and "The Light," is refreshing, given the cunning and oblique preferences of so many other saxophonists operating today.

While Yaremko's horn work and multi-faceted approach help to define this album, his band mates also play an important role. Drummer Jonathon Peretz's light-and-tight ride cymbal brings focus and clarity to the groove(s) and King's well-mannered approach to the organ allows the band to downshift into areas that few organ trios explore. The bonus here is guitarist Vic Juris
Vic Juris
Vic Juris
b.1953
guitar
, making guest appearances on "Bye-Ya" and "Oil Slick." He sizzles when he solos and fits in just fine with this group. Yaremko has found a format and formula that suit him well, so here's to hoping that this won't be a one-off organ group outing.

Track Listing: Jitterbug Waltz; Blue Fontaine; Bye-Ya; Little Sunflower; Oil Slick; Isfahan; Beach Blanket Bebop; Three's A Crowd; Simply Stated; Sprung; The Light.

Personnel: Craig Yaremko: soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, flute, alto flute; Matt King: organ; Jonathon Peretz: drums; Vic Juris: guitar (3, 5).

Record Label: OA2 Records

Style: Modern Jazz


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