Brian Ho hits all cylinders with Hammond B3 Organ on new CD


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There is electricity in the air. On Organic, the latest album from Brian Ho, the music is energetic enough to generate a thunderous charge; Ho and his bandmates sizzle with force and precision. When a group is hitting all cylinders such as this, all that one can do is sit back and watch the fireworks. Prepare to be shocked and awed.

A collection of Ho's original material as well as a few covers, Organic is remarkably consistent; whether performing his own compositions or that of others, Ho's unchained enthusiasm is the same, performing everything with equal amounts of gusto. There's witty wordplay in the record's title, too, as Ho's instrument of choice is the Hammond B3 Organ. Ho is joined by a handful of top-drawer players including guitarist Calvin Keys; tenor saxophonist Oscar Pangilinan; and drummer Lorca Hart. The chemistry between them is quite intoxicating.

The opening cut, “Tres Ritmo," already finds the group in a sweltering jam. Hart's shuffling drums, Ho's swirling organ, and Keys' chiming guitar lock in a fiery groove with Pangilinan's soaring sax. Only one song in and the band is wasting no time in leaving listeners breathless. Another of Ho's own pieces, the aptly named “Beat Street," continues the momentum with its marching drums and jubilant organ playing. The group even takes a swing at Amy Winehouse's “Rehab" with stylish, atmospheric results as Keys and Pangilinan offer a laidback, ice-blue response to Ho's bouncy organ. After Winehouse's tragic passing, it becomes a warm, heartfelt tribute.

With so many albums today lacking a human touch, Organic pulses with the invigorating beating of the heart.

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