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Barbara Dennerlein: Outhipped

C. Andrew Hovan By

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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.


Track Listing: 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)

Personnel: 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)

Title: Outhipped | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Verve Music Group


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