Brian Charette: Alphabet City

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Alphabet City is organist Brian Charette's ninth album, titled for the part of Manhattan where he lives (in the building which featured on the cover of Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti, apparently). He's alongside guitarist Will Bernard and drummer Rudy Royston, both familiar names on numerous other releases for Posi-tone Records: a standard, though high quality, organ trio, but the leader's compositions give it a far-from-standard repertoire.

The 12 tunes, all originals, are all pretty short, pretty snappy and, in the case of the melancholy "White Lies," pretty. Mostly, they're mid-to up-tempo numbers, with Charette's Hammond B-3 organ often adding a touch of soul. Fittingly for a musician with wide-ranging influences and a resume that includes work with Cyndi Lauper, Joni Mitchell, Lou Donaldson and Paul Simon the tunes on Alphabet City cover a broad spectrum of styles.

Charette has a nice line in notes about these tunes, explaining some of the titles and some of the musical constructs—sadly, they're part of the press pack but not the album liner. So we learn that "Hungarian Major" uses a scale from Hungary—although that doesn't explain the Frank Zappa-ish feel of Charette's organ; "They Left Fred Out"—suitably funky, with Royston's drumming at its punchy, driving, best—takes inspiration from James Brown and laments the absence of trombonist Fred Wesley from a Brown biopic; the prog-meets-fusion "Not A Purist" is influenced by Deep Purple and the Mahavishnu Orchestra.

While it's intriguing to hear the Mahavishnu sound filtered through the lineup of an organ trio, the real pleasure of Alphabet City is in hearing Charette, Bernard and Royston moving with confidence through the blues, funk and jazz of "They Left Fred Out," "East Village" or (with added '70s country) "Sharpie Moustache."

Track Listing: East Village; They Left Fred Out; West Village; Not A Purist; Sharpie Moustache; Disco Nap; Hungarian Major; Avenue A; Detours; Split Black; White Lies; The Vague Reply.

Personnel: Brian Charette: organ; Will Bernard: guitar; Rudy Royston: drums.

Title: Alphabet City | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Dedication CD/LP/Track Review Dedication
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 21, 2017
Read Surface of Inscription CD/LP/Track Review Surface of Inscription
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 21, 2017
Read The Treasury Shows, Vol. 24 CD/LP/Track Review The Treasury Shows, Vol. 24
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 21, 2017
Read Aleka CD/LP/Track Review Aleka
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 21, 2017
Read Alto Gusto CD/LP/Track Review Alto Gusto
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 20, 2017
Read Flow CD/LP/Track Review Flow
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 20, 2017
Read "Gold" CD/LP/Track Review Gold
by Jim Olin
Published: January 25, 2017
Read "Solstice" CD/LP/Track Review Solstice
by Budd Kopman
Published: December 17, 2016
Read "I Try To Remember Where I Come From" CD/LP/Track Review I Try To Remember Where I Come From
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 17, 2017
Read "Peaceful Easy Feeling: The Songs of Jack Tempchin" CD/LP/Track Review Peaceful Easy Feeling: The Songs of Jack Tempchin
by Doug Collette
Published: September 3, 2017
Read "Resting in a Fold of the Fog" CD/LP/Track Review Resting in a Fold of the Fog
by John Eyles
Published: March 16, 2017
Read "Schlitten" CD/LP/Track Review Schlitten
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 24, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Please support out sponsor