Nick Moran Trio: The Messenger (2007)
Nick Moran's debut recording is squarely in the category of the guitar/organ/drum trio. The instrument mainly featured is the guitar, not the organ, which is given enough solo space, but generally adopts more of a supporting role.
Moran's trio consists of Argentinian organist Ed Withrington, who also relocated with his family to Scotland and Mexico, and New York drummer Andy Watson. Moran is from New York and reveals that his early influences were British rock guitarists like Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and Peter Frampton. He graduated from City College of New York with a Fine Arts Degree and renewed jazz guitar interests from the playing of George Benson and studies with guitarist Rick Stone.
The album consists of nine originals that display a range of compositional styles. While the opening "Papa George" has a southern funkiness, the title tune is more bebop-oriented and swinging. "Indigo City" is a hymn to New York and more introspective. On "Sensory Awakening," the group turns up the fire and smokes. Both "The Perfect Moment" and "The Secret Life" are ballads; the former moves into a bossa nova finale.
My least favorite track is the closer, "Shorter Steps," which does not sound like anything from the pen of Wayne Shorter. It is more of a throwback to another era, beginning with an organ solo, then a rock-ish one from Moran, followed by more organ solo work. Up until this final track, Moran displays lyricism, sensitivity and blues-like playing in the vein of a guitarist like Grant Green.
Track Listing: Papa George; The Messenger; Indigo City; Sensory Awakening; The Secret Life; That Greasy Stuff; The Black Rose; Perfect Moment; Shorter Steps.
Personnel: Nick Moran: guitar; Ed Withrington: organ; Andy Watson: drums.