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Organik Vibe Trio: Moscow

Nicholas F. Mondello By

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The members of the Organik Vibe Trio bring highly diverse playing and recording experience—and writing talents—to Moscow. With a broad collective résumé, this empathic team drives hard—and quite beautifully—over ten highly inspired, enjoyable and swinging selections, with five standards and five originals.

Al Dubin/Harry Warren's "Summer Night" kicks off the session, with vibraphonist/marimbaist Dave Samuels' mallets playing the up-tempo samba melody. Organist/accordionist Ron Oswanki's B-3 is always right there, comping and offering ideas across the date. The melodic and harmonic synergy between these two players is a joy to observe throughout, and with drummer Marko Marcinko's unleashing drive, the three players fit together with classic precision.

The instrumentation, with Oswanski handling the bass line duties, works extremely well, with no instrument overshadows the others. There's a nice mellowness to this CD, but it certainly swings hard, as on Samuels' "Sherwood," where Marcinko's toms and rim shots perk things along, as Oswanski's B-3 shouts out.

The frenetic pace and schizoid melodic lines of "Knots" set off a chase led by Samuels and Oswanski, who run their lines perfectly. The vibraphonist's four-mallet chords are in perfect keeping with the piece's tone, and Marcinko's "tonal tom" solo fits with the mania.

"Strange Music" is everything but—a classic organ feature, where Oswanski soars and Samuels swings. The obligatory bossa, "Zingaro," is a pretty, less frequently heard Antonio Carlos Jobim song that is covered tastefully, with supreme restraint and mood, while the beautiful "Stepping Stone" shows meditative colors over a three-toned repetitive melodic fragment, with Samuels' light raindrop touch a gem.

Billy Strayhorn's "Lotus Blossom" finds Oswanski's accordion doubling Samuels' tremeloed lead with a bit of exotic flair. Oswanski steers clear of "Lady of Spain" pyrotechnics, in favor of tasteful comps and fancy-free runs. Cole Porter's swinging "So in Love" ends the session with a fierce straight-ahead burn from all three players.

There are many subtleties throughout this recording, with nothing ever blatant or repetitively boring. There are some very obvious characteristics: it swings, engages, and offers nothing more than exquisite tastefulness. Moscow is a highly entertaining and imaginative offering by a stellar group that makes the most—and delivers the best—of its apparently awesome talents.

Track Listing: Summer Night; Moscow; Sherwood; Knots; Strange Music; Zingaro; Sleeping Beauty; Stepping Stone; Lotus Blossom; So in Love.

Personnel: Dave Samuels: vibes, marimba; Ron Oswanski: organ, accordian; Marko Marcinko: drums, percussion.

Title: Moscow | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Self Produced


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