Richie Hart: Greasy Street (2005)
For Greasy Street, guitarist Richie Hart augments his usual trio with bassist Joe Corsello and drummer Rick Petrone to include a band of players who bring a welcome dimension to the music. Hart knows where to place them, and this, combined with the song selections, makes for some enjoyable listening.
Of these ten tunes, only one has the trio going for it. The setting is apt for "I'll See You in My Dreams." After the initial exploration by Hart, the three invoke a light, supple, airy groove that is given the swish by Corsello's brushes. Hart's guitar playing is agile and spare, though he can let loose some telling accents, as he does on the funky title track. The tune rises to a swell before breaking loose on the darting lines of Lonnie Smith on the Hammond B-3. But it also features the cartwheeling tenor of Jerry Weldon and the pungent thrusts of trombonist Clifton Anderson, which go towards adding the spice and making this a hot delight.
The soft breeze of the bossa wafts into "Mellow Mood" and gives it a relaxed air, but the same rhythm does not work as well on "Naima," lending the piece an unbecoming pastel shade. However, Hart, who plays both electric and acoustic guitars, offers contrast and some refreshing ideas in the juxtaposition of the two.
Hart can write a pretty mean tune, as "East Coast Blues" so compactly testifies. It's a bristling, loping piece with Hart exhorting the blues, propelled by Corsello and Petrone. Smith takes an extended outing, going full tilt into the sonority of the organ, and then Weldon takes over as the focal point with some deep, earthy notes.
Track Listing: Greasy Street; Frim Fram Sauce; Tyrone; Naima; East Coast Blues; Third Plane; Recorda Me; Down Here on the Ground; Mellow Mood; I'll See You in My Dreams
Personnel: Richie Hart: electric and acoustic guitars; Rick Petrone: bass; Joe Corsello: drums; Clifton Anderson: trombone (1); Pete Levin: keyboards: (2,4,6-9); Dr. Lonnie Smith: Hammond B-3 (1,3,5); Jerry Weldon: tenor saxophone (1-3,5).