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Many jazz enthusiasts have received the resurgence of the “Organ Combo” with welcome arms. On Green Street, guitarist John Stein along with organist Ken Clark and drummer Dave Hurst pursue turf that originated in the 1950’s & 60’s following the traditional approaches of Jimmy Smith, Brother Jack McDuff and others. The John Stein Trio along with guest star David “Fathead” Newman incite the listener’s imagination with an aggregate of toe-tapping, invigorating Stein originals and Ellington’s “Do Nothing ‘Till You Hear From Me”.
John Stein possesses a guitar technique which is firmly rooted in the Wes Montgomery and Grant Green school as Stein’s warm, sonorous sound coupled with an inventive, fluid attack is pleasantly persuasive, distinctive and endearing. The opener, “Jack’s Back” sets the upcoming pace through smooth, skillful execution, panache’ and plain old foot stomping’ fun. The legendary saxophonist David “Fathead” Newman picks up the flute on “Hotcakes” and even quotes a few lines from The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby”. “Hotcakes” is an affable yet determined swing number as organist Ken Clark does a commendable job on those Hammond B-3 foot pedals. On “When I’m Away”. Newman lends a hand with his signature husky Texas-Tenor blues sound. Vivid images of being in a roadhouse somewhere in the heart of Texas come to mind. Here and throughout, Stein’s multi-colored, subtle and delicate phrasing is a sheer delight. The title track, “Green Street” is a bluesy-swing as organist Ken Clark trades sprightly choruses with tenorist David “Fathead” Newman’s raucous and rollicking style of play. Stein proceeds to settle things down just a bit via poignant and well crafted soloing as he intelligently plays with the memorable and melodic theme. “Greyhound” is a true organ cooker as they proverbially “give the drummer some”! Dave Hurst gets his moment in the sun as he sticks and jabs behind the kit, complimenting the rapid thematic movements from Clark and Stein. David “Fathead” Newman rejoins on alto sax as the band performs Ellington’s “Do Nothing “Till You Hear From Me”. Stein and company restate the recurring theme in alternating fashion through spirited choruses and solos. The final track, “Digits” is a medium tempo swing piece as Stein shines with sleek, elegant phrasing and impressive single note soloing. Stein presents a flurry of ideas through his ax as Ken Clark answers with some cool, jazzy Hammond B-3 riffs.
Green Street is loads of fun and a breath of fresh air. The John Stein Trio along with David “Fathead” Newman represent the organ combo concept in prominent fashion. The performances are top notch as the overall craftsmanship is meticulous, skillful and heartfelt. Green Street is guaranteed to rejuvenate one’s spirits. ****
John Stein; Guitar: Ken Clark; Organ: Dave Hurst; Drums and Percussion. Special Guest; David