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Hammonds Abound: Koppel Blade Koppel and The Bobby Broom Organ-isation

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Is there an organ trio revival underway in the jazz universe? Boston has bequeathed the Tim Carman Organ Trio, while western New York state has bestowed Organ Fairchild upon us. Meanwhile, the Tony Monaco Trio continues to wend its way along the golden road of seemingly unlimited devotion. Now, guitarist Bobby Broom has deigned to revisit some of his best work in that setting at the same time Benjamin Koppel embarks upon a digression from his more ambitious projects to offer a blowing session for his saxophone, father Anders on the Hammond B-3 and the esteemed drummer Brian Blade. Organist Jimmy Smith and guitarist Grant Green would be so proud.

Koppel Blade Koppel
Time Again
Cowbell Music
2024

In keeping with the grandly ambitious works of the Koppels—Benjamin Koppel: White Buses: Passage To Freedom (Cowbell Music, 2023)) and Anders Koppel: Mulberry Street Symphony (Cowbell Music, 2022)—Time Again is much more formal and dignified than its companion piece. Still, like their counterparts, this saxophone/organ/drums lineup displays as much panache as taste, even if the moments of playfulness that suffuse "Puerto Rican Rumble" are fleeting at best. Hardly a criticism, what that observation suggests is that, in the end, the project bespeaks a most serious intent: the quiet thoughtful likes of "If You Forget Me" is prime fodder for such an approach, but in its muted noir tone, it is only the most obvious example. Apart from the glaring non-sequitur exception of Al Agami's rap on the title song, the instrumental dynamics are exquisite throughout and never more so than with the transition into the high but light stepping "Mavis." Sax, organ and drums hold equal sway as the playing unfolds, fully indicative of the unfettered chemistry here: the undeniable pleasure Koppel, Blade and Koppel also share over the course of these 57-plus minutes ultimately renders its playing time all too short.

The Bobby Broom Organ-isation
Jamalot Live
Steele Records
2024

Having first demonstrated his loyalty to the three-piece format with the Deep Blue Organ Trio, Bobby Broom reaffirmed his fealty to the concept with the The Organisation from whose live dates between 2014 and 2019 comes this collection. Contemporary pop in the form of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" and Eric Clapton's "Layla" resides comfortably next to the vintage likes of "Tennessee Waltz" and the traditional "House of the Rising Sun.'' Along with organist Ben Patterson and drummer Kobie Watkins, the guitarist/bandleader moves with great agility through all the selections, his fretboard lines alternately making room for or cleaving to the keyboard flow (itself alternately matched and mirrored by the nimble drumming). Perhaps a bit too literal minded for some who prefer more oblique interpretations, the readily-recognizable rendition of The Beatles' "The Long and Winding Road" brings that special pleasure of the familiar turned fresh that is so often fodder for such instrumental configurations as this one. Such is the distinction of these players here, alone and together, that when their take on Fats Waller's "The Jitterbug Waltz" is underway, they prove in no uncertain terms how durable (and malleable) is this instrumental approach.

Tracks and Personnel

Time Again

Tracks: Puerto Rican Rumble; If You Forget Me; Mavis; Bazaar Revisited; Time Again; Fall From Grace; Should Have Put A Ring On It; Blind Man.

Personnel: Benjamin Koppel: alto saxophone; Anders Koppel: Hammond organ; Brian Blade: drums; Al Agami: vocal.

Jamalot

Tracks: Intro Announcement; Superstition; Band Introductions; Layla; The Tennessee Waltz; The Jitterbug Waltz; The House of The Rising Sun; Tadd's Delight; The Long and Winding Road; Speak Low.

Personnel: Bobby Broom: guitar; Ben Paterson: Hammond B3 organ; Kobie Watkins: drums

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