Part of the appeal of the traditional organ trioHammond B3 organ, guitar and drumsis the juxtaposition of the guitar's succinct phrasing slicing through the blurry winter breeze of the B3. Another part is the music's straight-up funkiness. This is music of the city, pioneered by organist Jimmy Smith and guitarists Wes Montgomery and Grant Green. The music's heyday ran from the 1950s through the '60s, thriving in urban clubs and bars, incorporating the sounds of R&B and soul music.
A new wave in the format is at hand, with boundary-pushing organists Sam Yahel and John Medeski of Medeski Martin & Wood. Another new face pushing those boundaries, with respect for the tradition, is guitarist Nick Moran.
Moran invites the sound and soul of rock music and blues into the mix with "Strange Brew," the opening tune on seminal power trio Cream's Disraeli Gears (Polydor, 1967). Moran also opens No Time Like Now with the song, his snappy lines snaking in and out of organist Brad Whiteley's cool, sweet wind, backed by Chris Benham's crisp drum work.
A blind listen to the disc wouldn't identify the leader; the sound is that of a cohesive unit. The Moran-penned "My Beautiful" has a floating quality, with understated, spot-on musicianship, with the leader and Whiteley equitably sharing the solo space and comping duties.
With the exception of "Strange Brew," the tunes are all Moran originals. "Intention" has a measured melancholy; "Slow Drive" is very satisfyingly funky; and "Wishful Thinking" brims with propulsive grooves and showcases Moran's intense yet subtle approach. "No Time Like Now" has a stirring majesty, while "The Physicist Transformed" opens on a slow prowl, with the organ punctuating Moran's phrases.
The organ trio field is a dynamic and crowded one, but the Nick Moran Trio rises up near the top with No Time Like Now.
Strange Brew; My Beautiful; Intention; Slow Drive; Wishful Thinking; No Time Like Now; Say Hi to Paris; Natalya; The Physicist Transformed; Renewal.
Nick Moran: guitar; Brad Whiteley: organ; Chris Benham: drums.
All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.