The uncommonly talented Mike LeDonne continues his transition from piano to Hammond B3, if that is what one may call it, with yet another superb album, the suitably named I Love Music. And while using the organ throughout is a good idea, it is but the first of two, as whenever LeDonne schedules a recording session he's almost sure to invite his friend and colleague, the stellar tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, a decision that is bound to please almost any listener. As a matter of record, Alexander has been a member of LeDonne's Groover Quartet" for more than fourteen years, ...read more
Mike LeDonne has more than made his mark in jazz over the years, on both piano and organ. One of the New York jazz scene's premier instrumentalists, he's long been a favorite of fellow musicians. He is incredible," said the late Oscar Peterson, who once described how he would rush to hear LeDonne play every night on a jazz-cruise gig that featured both musicians on the bill. First known mainly for his piano work, LeDonne has increased his profile as an organ player considerably, to the point where it may be eclipsing his reputation as a pianist. His hugely popular ...read more
Connecticut-born / New York-based Mike LeDonne, who divides his time these days between piano and organ, has begun to record more frequently on the Hammond B3, especially with his suitably named Groover Quartet which, according to Owen Cordle's liner notes to Keep the Faith, has been together now for more than a decade. And that's a good thing, as these gentlemen certainly know how to groove, and do so with abandon on an album recorded roughly a year after the quartet's well-received The Groover (Savant 2100, 2010). The organ trio has, of course, been a staple of ...read more
So who knew that Mike LeDonne is actually a Jazz organist cleverly disguised as a pianist? Well, for starters, the folks who've been coming to see him perform regularly at Smoke, the New York City nightclub where he's been the house organist for more than a decade. As it turns out, LeDonne's not a garden-variety organist but an earnest Groover in the image of his main role model, the late Charles Earland. It's no accident that LeDonne has enlarged his trio (guitarist Peter Bernstein, drummer Joe Farnsworth) for this studio date by inviting tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander to sit in, ...read more
Mike LeDonne The Groover Savant Records 2010
What kind of music grooves" exactly? Look no further. Hammond B3 organist Mike LeDonne teams with a group of accomplished musicians to put together an album that simply grooves hard all the way to the final chord. Reminiscent of Jimmy Smith and Charles Earland, LeDonne plays with conviction and soulfulness on an album that sounds more like a jam session than a studio release. From the first few bars, it is clear that the casting of this album is impeccable. Guitarist Peter Bernstein's ...read more
How suitable that FiveLive should have been recorded at the New York City nightspot Smoke, as pianist Mike LeDonne's fiery quintet smokes from fore and aft and port to starboard throughout this pleasurable concert date. Of course, it's hard not to burn with trumpeter Jeremy Pelt and tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander manning the front line while long-term teammates bassist John Webber and drummer Joe Farnsworth provide the rhythmic power that drives the engine.
LeDonne, as splendid a composer as he is a soloist and accompanist, wrote three of the album's eight selections to complement Stevie Wonder's You and I," Dizzy ...read more
Man, where the heck was I on Oct. 19th-20th 2007? I can't recall offhand my exact whereabouts, but it doesn't matter because I certainly wasn't present at the popular Upper West Side jazz haunt Smoke to experience the excellent sets that resulted in pianist Mike LeDonne's new live release FiveLive. LeDonne, who holds down a weekly gig at Smoke as the leader of a Hammond B-3 organ-driven groove session, delivers an extremely satisfying and eclectic hard bop experience with this record, one of the best live releases of the year so far. Joined by four of New York's ...read more
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