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The Steve Hall Quintet: The Steve Hall Quintet (2005)

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Portland, Oregon-based jazzman Steve Hall's main axe—after studies in guitar and trumpet—is the Hammond organ. His quintet augments the standard organ trio (guitar/ organ/drums) with a trumpet/saxophone front line. The B-3 organ usually says "blues," but on this debut by Hall's quintet, the music falls more into the hard bop category, with seven Hall originals and five familiar jazz standards.

Of the familiar tunes, none would be associated with the organ trio concept, but the quintet gives them fresh treatments: Thelonious Monk's "Monk's Dream," with Hall's organ rounding off some of the characteristic percussive bump of the tune and sweetening the mix, with a tangy soprano sax solo—a la Steve Lacy—thrown in to sweeten it a bit more; and Jimmy Van Heusen's "Darn That Dream," Horace Silver's "Silver's Seranade," and Wayne Shorter's "Witch Hint."

Coltrane's classic "Moment's Notice," from the masterful Blue Train, sounds full of joy as it glides forward on a smooth, organ-chilled momentum.

Hall also writes a fine tune. The opener, "On a Scale of One to Five," lifts the spirits—minor key or no—with a fine and lively trumpet solo by Richard Watson, and "Blue Sky Black Coffee" struts along with a spring in its step, showing off Hall's skills with an engaging melody and catchy groove.

The group does get a little down and dirty with one blues offering, "Cap'n Jack's Blues," for Jack McDuff, on a set full of engaging straight-ahead organ and horn jazz.

Track Listing: On a Scale of One to Five; Blue Sky black Coffee; Monk's Dream; Rasta Turtle; Moment's Notice; Thursday Strut; Darn that Dream; Cap'n Jack's Blues; What You Say to that; Silver's Seranade; Steamy Night Shuffle; Witch Hunt.

Personnel: Steve Hall: organ; Cal Hudson: tenor and soprano saxophones; Richard Watson: trumpet and flugelhorn; Pete Schwimmer: guitar; Kenny Morse: drums.

Record Label: Self Produced

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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