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Brian Charette: Jackpot


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Brian Charette: Jackpot
In the tradition of some great Hammond organ players of the past, such as Jack McDuff, Melvin Rhyne, Don Patterson, Larry Young and Jimmy Smith, one leading practitioner on this instrument, Brian Charette, wanted to write some swinging and soulful bebop tunes which would honor the memory of these past greats. The musicians Charette chose to travel on this journey were steeped in this genre, tenor saxophonist Cory Weeds, funky guitarist Ed Cherry and the swinging drummer Bill Stewart. To ensure that the charts were treated with the appropriate degree of seriousness, the band came together on November 4, 2021 at the Rudy Van Gelder Recording Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ with Maureen Sikler in charge of the engineering.

At a certain moment in time, there was hardly an east coast jazz lounge or Holiday Inn that was not the venue for a hard-bop funky organ trio or quartet led by the likes of those Hammond organ jazz icons previously mentioned. On this current Charette release Jackpot the nine tracks, all composed by the leader, hit the tape with that ethos in mind.

The opener is "Polka Dot Pinup" which has a serious backbeat to give the number some funky credibility. All of this sets the stage for some weighty picking by guitarist Cherry, followed by Charette's brawny organ. Not to be outdone, Weeds lays on his tenor saxophone to show his mettle. The group then comes together for the out chorus. "Tight Connection" is a straight forward swinger based on a simple line which is nothing more than a starting point for a number of well developed juicy and distinct solos by the band members.

"Good Fortune" offers a change of pace, with a bossa nova beat on which Weeds' tenor saxophone is especially effective. Charette also likes the beat as he develops the number with some stuttering keyboard riffs. Drummer Stewart closes the chart showcasing his dexterous technique. So whatever the band plays, be it "Unmasked" or "Vague Reply," the knowledge of the harmonic form and the strong rhythmic support gives the musicians a chance to "get into the pocket" on each chart.

The title track is "Jackpot" and the music is full measure as the title implies. With Weeds' tenor saxophone taking the lead, he runs through several choruses in an up tempo fashion delivering his solo in an authoritative yet relaxed style. Cherry then chimes with a series of long slippery lines before Charette picks up the groove emphasizing a thick bottom sound. There follows a series of exchanges among the band which gives Stewart a chance to add to the excitement before Weeds takes the tune out. Throughout the session the group manages to squeeze every drop of funky bop from all the charts.

Track Listing

Polka Dot Pinup; Tight Connection; Triple Threat; Good Fortune; Upstairs; High Ball; Vague Reply; Jackpot; Unmasked.


Brian Charette
organ, Hammond B3
Ed Cherry
Cory Weeds
saxophone, alto

Album information

Title: Jackpot | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Cellar Live



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