One casualty of jazz' precipitous decline in popularity since the '70s has been the ever- diminishing number of organ trios, once a staple of African-American urban communities. On their third and latest release, Folk Music, Deep Blue Organ Trio remain committed to continuing the thread of the organ trio as a vital part of the black community and on a larger scale, restoring jazz as an integral extension of the African-American experience.
Following in the footsteps of Jimmy Smith, Dr. Lonnie Smith and Jimmy McGriff, Deep Blue Organ Trio are out to put the groove and grittiness back in organ jazz, but often remain understated throughout. The opener, "A Deeper Blue," is not only the most dynamic track, it is also the lone composition from Chris Foreman (Hammond B3 organ), Bobby Broom (guitar) and Greg Rockingham (drums). Folk Music could've used a few more originals; nonetheless, it remains a worthy study in cool. For the remaining eight pieces, the trio mines the modern pop and R&B songbooks with solid and sometimes unlikely interpretations of Stephanie Mills' "Never Knew Love Like This Before" and funksters Ohio Players' "Sweet Sticky Thing," a gem to close out the disc.
On his album, The Way I Play, Bobby Broom explores the more traditional guitar-led trios in the manner of Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell. Broom, now in his second stint as a sideman with Sonny Rollins, made his Carnegie Hall debut with the sax legend at the tender age of 16. He has also played with Burrell, Stanley Turrentine, Dr. John and Miles. The Way I Play is the first live recording for his band, which includes longtime bassist Dennis Carroll and drummer Kobie Watkins, recorded at what has been a weekly Chicago engagement since 1997. What transpires over the course of the eight songs is a document of a guitarist in his prime and of course, all three pieces hitting on all cylinders. Watkins plays with the ferocity needed to elevate the combo above the din of apathy at the venue. The disc of standards presents a working trio that is locked in with one another, readily apparent on "Strike Up the Band," "Fly Me to the Moon" and "Body and Soul." Broom even covers Rollins on "Airegin" with a confident looseness; his intimacy with the material translates into a real showcase for the guitarist's fretwork.
Tracks and Personnel
Tracks: A Deeper Blue; This I Dig of You; I Thought About You; The Chant; She's Leaving Home; Never Knew Love Like This Before; Ceora; Short Story; Sweet Sticky Thing.
Personnel: Chris Foreman: organ; Bobby Broom: guitar; Gene Rockingham: drums.
The Way I Play
Tracks: Strike Up the Band; Donna Lee; Fly Me to the Moon; Airegin; Body and Soul; Unit; The Surrey With the Fringe on Top; Inception.
Personnel: Bobby Broom: guitar: Dennis Carroll: bass; Kobie Watkins: drums.
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