In a 1977 magazine interview, New York Yankees Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson (in)famously referred to himself as "the straw that stirs the drink" for his team. On this trio set with organ player and composer Ron Oswanski and bassist-composer Christian Fabian (who also shaped the arrangements), the one and only original funky drummer Bernard Purdie keeps stirring his drum pots to help this trio's funky and rhythmic grooves to Move On!.
The leadoff "The Red Plaza" and subsequent "BPP Blues" (referencing the famous Bernard "Pretty" Purdie nickname) immediately reveal this set's heart and soul: It's the sound of sheer musical joy. Purdie stretches out and snaps back the beat as he strolls through "The Red Plaza," while bassist Fabian fingerpops some funk and Oswanski keeps pace by playing soul with the fever and speed of rock 'n' roll.
Fabian's arrangement neatly keeps "Can't You See (You're Doin' Me Wrong)" from Tower of Power's Back to Oakland (1975, Warner Bros.) as a soul ballad, his bass singing the melody in a wonderfully conversational tone with keyboards singing harmony and support vocals. They also render Duke Ellington's "Love You Madly" with a loving touch.
The last three tunes close Move On! with howling hurricane force. Fabian's tight New Orleans bass line, twist-tied to Purdie's rollicking drumbeat, provides the straw that stirs the title track. The trio completely blows up the 160-year-old warhorse "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" into a free and easy jam that you might hear rising out of some smokey little speakeasy late on a Saturday night, much more fun and playful than you'd reasonably expect.
Oswanski stretches out Miles Davis' "So What" into the electric spaciousness of Brian Auger and his fusion-fueled Oblivion Express but without leaving the gritty soul and feel of blues and rock keyboards behind, with Fabian's bass calling out that famous original bass line and Oswanski's keyboards simulating the horns echoing back that blue response. It's a great way to close Move On!: Leaving you wanting to hear just one more tune.
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.