One of the best-kept secrets of the burgeoning revivalist movement involving the Hammond B3 organ has been the unusual, but consistently underrated efforts of Barbara Dennerlein. A native of Germany, the organist's career began almost 20 years ago and since then she has labored quietly while releasing a distinguished set of albums for Enja and most recently Verve. Outhipped is Dennerlein's third outing for Verve and its marked by some unusually sophisticated writing, not to mention a large (12 in all) and rotating cast of front-rank musicians.
What makes Dennerlein's work so accomplished is a great degree of variation in moods and tempos. This is not your typical organ grinder affair filled with a string of blues-drenched tunes that all tend to sound the same after awhile. Any hint of this myth is immediately dispelled by the exploratory "Mabuse," which opens with a fervent barrage of collective improvisation. The yarn then unfolds with alternating sections of funk and straight ahead swing, marked by Dennerlein's cascading runs and guitarist Mitch Watkins' Hendrix-influenced lines.
Even when Dennerlein steps on familiar terrain, like a version of Mick Jagger's "Satisfaction," which was first covered by Jimmy Smith back in the '60s, the results are anything but customary. Sporting a New Orleans "second line" groove punctuated by Ray Anderson's tuba, "Satisfaction" gets funked-up in a way that surely the Stones never originally intended or imagined. Far from the usual retro revival fare, Outhipped hits on a sagacious mix, as substantial as it is accessible.
Outhipped, Frog Dance, Odd Blues, Bloody Mary, Sweet Poison, Black and White, Mabuse, Strange Passion, Farewell To Old Friends, Satisfaction, In the Mud, Jammin' (75:25)
Barbara Dennerlein- Hammond B3 organ, Don Alias- percussion, James Genus- bass, Jeff "Tain" Watts- drums, Ray Anderson- trombone & tuba, Darren Barrett- trumpet, Alex Sipiagin- flugelhorn, Craig Handy- tenor & baritone saxophones, Antonio Hart- soprano & alto saxophones, Steve Slagle- flutes, Steve Nelson- vibes, Ada Dyer & Andre Smith- vocals (track 11 only)
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