The familiar jazz organ trio holds a special place in history, as well as on the contemporary scene. The sound is soft-pedaled and funky, but filled with all the essential elements of good music. Joe Kap takes a melody out of its gift-wrapped package and delivers it to his audience with flowers and ribbons all around. He embellishes and re-invents, so that the tune comes back at you with echoes of funk and cool struttin’ laying right out there on top.
At a faster tempo, such as with Cole Porter’s “It’s All Right With Me,” he hurries so much that the improvised outcome becomes muddy. Notes run together and phrases change direction in such a manner that the original thought becomes blurred.
Kap is much better at cool struttin’. Walking many of his songs like a proud rooster, he brings the driving rhythm home with all the essential sidesteps thrown in. A swinging Hammond B3 organ, a blues-driven electric guitar, and a resourceful drummer combine to form the kind of street noise that you’d hear from the sidewalk outside your favorite downtown nightspot.
Kap’s dedication to Bill Heid steals the show. With a funk attitude and with equal participation from each of the three artists, the Joe Kap Organ Trio swings a timeless anthem designed to spur emotions. As they return to the song’s head melody, you can hear the growth that has developed through a century of jazz and feel it moving forward toward its challenging future.
Artistic freedom is a large part of the business. Joe Kap and his partners want to grow. Yet, their audience may be looking for a little bit of the old organ combo tradition. So they’ve decided to give ‘em both. “The Mad Scientist” and “Neurosis,” for example, ride the leading edge of jazz’s development. The three artists employ spontaneity and creativity in their interpretation. “The Cold Chill,” and “Eldorado,” on the other hand, give us a strong, kickback taste of what developed long ago and still remains integral to mainstream jazz and blues. Emphasizing an exotic melody on the latter, the organ combo leaves us feeling refreshed. There’s a little something here for everyone to enjoy.
Personnel: Joe Kap- Hammond organ, Fender Rhodes; Paul Pieper- guitar; Marty Morrison- drums, percussion.