130

Mike LeDonne: Keep the Faith

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Mike LeDonne: Keep the Faith Connecticut-born / New York-based Mike LeDonne, who divides his time these days between piano and organ, has begun to record more frequently on the Hammond B3, especially with his suitably named Groover Quartet which, according to Owen Cordle's liner notes to Keep the Faith, has been together now for more than a decade. And that's a good thing, as these gentlemen certainly know how to groove, and do so with abandon on an album recorded roughly a year after the quartet's well-received The Groover (Savant 2100, 2010).

The organ trio has, of course, been a staple of small-group jazz for more than half a century, but LeDonne has expanded its range and power by adding another voice, that of the superlative tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, who earned his spurs with organist Charles Earland's group nearly two decades ago and, since then, has risen steadily to the top rank among contemporary tenors. LeDonne and Alexander are bolstered by a brace of seasoned pros, guitarist Peter Bernstein and drummer Joe Farnsworth. On the other hand, perhaps "bolstered" isn't the proper word, as this is above all a quartet of equals, and Bernstein and Farnsworth's voices are no less decisive (or incisive) than LeDonne's or Alexander's.

Even so, it is the organ that enriches the groove, regardless of tempo, and LeDonne is impressively immersed in its tradition, echoing and saluting such eminent predecessors / role models as Earland, Jimmy Smith, Don Patterson and Jimmy McGriff, among others. LeDonne pays homage to another groove-based organist, the late Big John Patton, with "Big John," while Earland wrote the impulsive title selection. LeDonne also composed "Scratchin,'" "Burner's Idea" and "Waiting for You" (the last for his daughter, Mary) to complement "The Backstabbers," Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel," Donny Hathaway's ballad "Someday We'll All Be Free" and Horace Silver's slow-cooked finale, "Sweet Sweetie Dee."

No matter the setting, Alexander is always a pleasure to hear, while Bernstein affirms on every solo that the blues are in his soul. As for Farnsworth, he does what drummers do best, and that means keeping immaculate time and making sure his teammates are always in the spotlight. LeDonne, for his part, solos with enthusiasm and intelligence and comps the same way. Keep the Faith embodies another persuasive hour of well-grooved jazz by LeDonne's admirable quartet.

Track Listing: The Backstabbers; Keep the Faith; Big John; The Way You Make Me Feel; Someday We'll All Be Free; Scratchin'; Waiting for You; Burner's Idea; Sweet Sweetie Dee.

Personnel: Mike LeDonne: Hammond B3 organ; Eric Alexander: tenor saxophone; Peter Bernstein: guitar; Joe Farnsworth: drums.

Title: Keep the Faith | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Savant Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Heaven On Their Minds CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Unnatural  Events CD/LP/Track Review Unnatural Events
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by James Nadal
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Clean CD/LP/Track Review Clean
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 15, 2017
Read Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations CD/LP/Track Review Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 15, 2017
Read "Steal Your Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Steal Your Heart
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 2, 2017
Read "The Quest: Live at the A.P.C." CD/LP/Track Review The Quest: Live at the A.P.C.
by Jim Trageser
Published: February 14, 2017
Read "Is It Me...?" CD/LP/Track Review Is It Me...?
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "Better Left Unsung" CD/LP/Track Review Better Left Unsung
by Doug Collette
Published: December 10, 2016
Read "Road to Forever" CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.