No one receives top billing in this tight-knit trio, which embodies organist Ron Oswanski, bassist Christian Fabian and drummer Bernard "Pretty" Purdie. And that is as it should be, as each of them is indispensable to its success. That success is further predicated on how well the three amigos enhance an agenda that is heavily laden with funk and soul including five greasy compositions by Fabian and others by Duke Ellington, Miles Davis and even Julia Ward Howe (a gritty "Battle Hymn of the Republic").
Once Oswanski, Fabian and Purdie decided that funk was the order of the day, they set about making the music as bright and pleasing as possible, and in that respect they have pretty much succeeded. Oswanski's Hammond B3 is expressive and agile, Fabian's electric bass steady and emphatic, Purdie's drumming sharp and supportive, the teamwork as solid as could be envisioned from three past masters who have traveled this road many times before.
The compass is set on Fabian's "The Red Plaza" and "BPP Blues," which present the trio in a groovy milieu that serves as a harbinger of backbeats to come. After the engaging "Can't You See (You're Doin' Me Wrong)," Fabian returns with two more bass-heavy shufflers, "84-85" and "Got Groove (Part 2)," leading to the album's lone "change of pace," Ellington's "Love You Madly," on which the tempo slows and the funk eases for the first (and only) time. The sinewy "Move On!" (introduced by Purdie's persuasive snares) is next, followed by "Battle Hymn" and Davis' casual "So What," whose spare melody lends itself well to Fabian's sonorous bass.
Move On! was recorded for Consolidated Artists Productions and is dedicated "in loving memory" to the label's founder, pianist / composer Mike Longo, who died in March 2020 from the coronavirus. Make no mistake, this is music whose course is clear and whose rendition is exemplary. Having said that, prospective listeners should be aware that its base is funk, its essence soul, and appraise it from that vantage point. The stars are given primarily for the performance, which is superb.
The Red Plaza; BPP Blues; Can’t You See (You’re Doin’ Me Wrong); 84-85; Got Groove (Part 2); Love You Madly; Move On!;
The Battle Hymn of the Republic; So What.
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