Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

7

Organissimo: B3tles: A Soulful Tribute To The Fab Four

C. Andrew Hovan By

Sign in to view read count
When one thinks of jazz cities responsible for contributing some of the music's most important artists, Detroit is always a name that pops up at the top of the list. A short list of icons who hail from the city would have to include Ron Carter, the Jones Brothers, James Carter, Pepper Adams, Louis Hayes, and many more. Truth be told, Michigan in general is a fertile area for budding musicians of all persuasions and many fine college programs contribute to this burgeoning scene.

Formed back in 2000, the group organissimo boasts the talents of three Michigan natives who also happen to be world-class musicians. All three gentlemen come from musical families. Organist Jim Alfredson hails from Lansing and has developed quite a resume working in several genres of music, most notably with Root Doctor and currently with Laura Rain & the Caesars. Detroiter Lawrence Barris first got his chops together as a guitarist backing everyone from Little Anthony and the Imperials to Redd Foxx. And last but not least, drummer Randy Marsh is a legend around Michigan and regularly leads a Sunday night jam session at the Speak EZ Lounge in his native Grand Rapids.

That this trio has the fortitude to tackle the iconic music of the legendary Beatles and then succeed on so many levels is a testament to not only their individual talents, but also to their collective history and experience. Packing quite a punch with their collection of a dozen gems ripe for improvisatory fodder, the trio made some smart choices in the pieces they selected. It's a heady mix that will please everyone from the novice to the Beatles fanatic.

The opening "Taxman" never sounded more hip, strutting its stuff in 7/4 meter to boot. Alfredson pulls up some great organ sounds, having been influenced by everyone from Jimmy Smith to Big John Patton. The group takes further rhythmic liberties with "All You Need is Love," heard here in a swinging 5/4 guise and with Alfredson voicing the melody on Wurlitzer electric piano before switching over to the organ. "Can't Buy Me Love" moves away from its British Invasion roots to take on a new life as a greasy shuffle complete with Alfredson cranking up the vibrato.

Fleshing out what is essentially a pretty basic and inconsequential piece of music, the trio really shines on "Dig a Pony." It's feels almost like the sun breaking through the clouds each time Alfredson pulls out the stops for the tune's hook. Barris casts a great sound that recalls some of the best organ combo men from the late 60s such as Wilbert Longmire, Pat Martino, Jimmy Ponder, and Billy Butler. He is undeniably an essential part of these arrangements. Be it deftly playing the lead on classical guitar for "All You Need is Love" or stretching out long tones on his electric while he takes center stage for "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." His solos are crisp, fully-formed statements that provide sustenance of the soul quenching variety.

As for Marsh, he easily navigates the quirky time changes and structures while laying down a solid foundation. Never too busy, but also not content to serve an auto-pilot type of comping that is all too common with organ trios, Marsh strikes a delicate balance. His funky groove for "Come Together" sets the piece in motion. His dry stick attack on "Dear Prudence" is just enough support for Alfredson's elongated phrases and juicy chordal work.

Although the trio remains at the core for the majority of the performances, there are a few tracks that get added spice such as extra percussion and a fine harmonica solo at the conclusion of "The Long and Winding Road." The closing "Within You Without Out" is a dramatic take on the George Harrison original that pits tabla against a whole bank of electronics manned by Alfredson. It's bold and audacious and the perfect send off to this sublime tribute.

Track Listing: Taxman; Dig A Pony; And I Love Her; All You Need Is Love; Can't Buy Me Love; I Will; Dear Prudence; Come Together; The Long And Winding Road; If I Fell; While My Guitar Gently Weeps; Within You Without You.

Personnel: Jim Alfredson; Hammond organ, Wurlitzer Electric piano; synthesizers; Lawrence Barris: guitar; Randy Marsh: drums; Bill Vits: percussion (1, 3, 5, 9, 12); Mike List: tabla (12).

Title: B3tles: A Soulful Tribute To The Fab Four | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Big O Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Satoko Fujii Solo CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read when the shade is stretched CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read The Influencing Machine CD/LP/Track Review The Influencing Machine
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Presence CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read "The Attic" CD/LP/Track Review The Attic
by John Sharpe
Published: July 24, 2017
Read "In Transit" CD/LP/Track Review In Transit
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: December 27, 2017
Read "Point and Line" CD/LP/Track Review Point and Line
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: July 7, 2017
Read "Provenance" CD/LP/Track Review Provenance
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 4, 2017
Read "3Divas" CD/LP/Track Review 3Divas
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 1, 2017
Read "Horizontal Dialogues" CD/LP/Track Review Horizontal Dialogues
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 8, 2017