Clearly producer Marc Free loves the jazz organ. His roster on the Posi-Tone label includes two of the best up and coming talents, Jared Gold and Brian Charette. Of his three albums for the label, Alphabet City may be Charette's best effort yet. While the previous Good Tipper relied too heavily on quirky versions of some odd pop tunes, this set is comprised of a dozen of his own originals and this makes all the difference.
The opening "East Village" feels like it sits in the tradition of those classic organ trios, in this case that of Grant Green, Larry Young, and Elvin Jones. By contrast, "They Left Fred Out" is a funky groove number that tips its hat more to Charles Earland or Johnny Hammond. "West Village" shifts the geographic location and shines the spotlight on guitarist Will Bernard, who contributes one of his best solos. In just these first three numbers we get quite a bit of variety and sample the organ stops that Charette most favors.
But don't be deceived, Brian's muse covers quite a bit of ground. "Hungarian Major" is a space-age oddity that literally finds the organist pulling out all the stops. Weaving lines in and out of Bernard's repeating riff, Charette builds and releases the tension on the masterful "Split Black." Not afraid to cool things down, the organist speaks eloquently on the slower numbers like "Disco Nap" and "White Lies." Having recorded previously with Charette, drummer Rudy Royston strikes the perfect balance of support and risk taking that integrates fully into the mix.
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.
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