, the Biscodini Organ Trio don't exactly reinvent the instrumental concept at the heart of its name, but the album does go a long way in reminding us of its self-renewing nature. The collective light touch tendered by this guitar/keyboard/drums ensemble taps the potential of the format in such a way both the material and its musicianship sounds equally fresh and infectious.
This reaffirmation of one of the most viable concepts in jazz is all the more remarkable given how it was recorded. With each of the three working from their respective homes, they shared digital files via Dropbox and, working closely with engineer and co-producer Bob Daspit, assembled and mixed the tracks. However, listening to the likes of "Donuts Spelled Backwards," for instance, there is never a sense drummer that Curt Bisquera
, organist Scott Healy
, and guitarist John Chiodini
are not in the same room.
And while it's not as if we need Biscodini to offer any further evidence of the immediacy of their performances, there are nine other such cuts, ranging from just over two to just over five minutes. Noting these 'sessions' occurred soon after quarantine measures were implemented renders that accomplishment all the more laudable when hearing the likes of "The Mask:" There's an easy surety in its flow from one player to the next, as if they were all in one room nodding to each other on the transitions. Meanwhile, it's simple to imagine the musicians dancing as if no one's watching while they play "Biscodini Boogaloo," but then again, why would anyone want to resist moving to the syncopation at the heart of that number?.
Or the feline Latin sway of "Canyon Road?" There's a collective humility at work here that belies the shared confidence in the overall production of Lockdown
: like the eye-catching cover graphic Jayson Won designed for this otherwise digital-only release, the fruit(s) of this most unusual collective effort illustrate how complementary are the individual skills of Healy, Chiodini and Bisquera. Little wonder a union with its roots some nine years old would sound as tight as it does on "2020 Shuffle." But what is both startling and delightful is hearing how effectively the balladry of "Karen Stay Home," follows that bonafide blues.
Kudos to the band and collaborator Daspit for not only highlighting the contrast between the two cuts, but also in revealing the trio's versatile touch for the respective differences in the material. The album's realistic audio quality is an essential component in illuminating how Biscodini retains its personality as a unit and individuals: besides channeling Brian Auger
with his Oblivion Express at times on "Beau He Did," the threesome's technique on their instruments as well as their empathy as a band is unmistakable. So pervasive is that attribute the familiarity of Horace Silver
's "Song For My Father" thus turns delicious as it signals the home stretch of the record. Lockdown
teems with such unerring instincts as that sole choice of a cover. But that's not to mention the self-discipline under adversity at the heart of this work, referenced but not overstated in song titles such as "Swabbed" and "6 Ft. Distance." Author Chris Morris displays a similarly healthy detachment in his liner notes, that very astute perspective the key to the success of the Biscodini Organ Trio.
The Mask; Biscodini Boogaloo; Donuts Spelled Backwards; 2020 Shuffle; Karen Stay Home; Beau Did He; Canyon Road; Song for My Father; 6 Ft. Distance; Swabbed .