160

Nick Ruffini: Pressin' On

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Nick Ruffini: Pressin' On The Hammond B-3 organ blew into jazz in a big way in the 1950s and 1960s. Employed mostly in small group settings—trios and quartets—the soulful, urban, deep groove music became hugely popular at that time, thanks to organists Jimmy Smith and Jimmy McGriff, as well as guitarists Wes Montgomery and Grant Green, among many others. The B-3 organ remains a popular form of jazz vehicle to this day, through the recordings of groups like Chicago's tradition-steeped Deep Blue Organ Trio and the more modernistic keyboardist Sam Yahel.

So it's a talent-filled and ongoing tradition into which drummer Nick Ruffini throws the sticks on Pressin' On, his recording debut as a leader. Ruffini's style—one of nailing down a rock-solid groove inside the cool and gusty organ sound—is perfect for this bluesy and danceable jazz form. Enlisting guitarist Johnny DeFrancesco to share in the tune-smithing and producing chores, Ruffini's Pressin' On has a distinctively crisp sound and the soulful momentum of the best in the genre.

DeFrancesco records with his brother, organist Joey DeFrancesco, as The DeFrancesco Brothers, and he fronts his own Johnny DeFrancesco Power Trio; so he would be expected to elevate the proceedings, and he does just that. Four of the disc's seven compositions are his, with three others co-written with Ruffini. He is a stellar guitarist with roots deep in the blues. He is also able to take it out there and wail, or lay down a snappy rhythm for the Rich Budesa's energetic and succinct organ work to ride on. The sound gets a big boost from bassist Paul Klinefelter, who plays with the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, but has no problem getting funky when the situation calls for it. Many—if not most—organ jazz groups go without the bass, leaving those chores to the organists' left hand and/or pedals. With Klinfelter in the mix, the sound has more solid foundation, serving as a duel anchoring alongside Ruffini's drums that seems to juice up the organ and guitar and let them fly.

The outstanding Pressin' On comes straight out of the soul-drenched organ jazz tradition, with more vehemence and verve in its approach than most. It feels a bit more of a danceable good time, with a surprise on the closer, DeFrancesco's "E.M.W," that drones into existence on a dark groove that shifts into a roiling turbulence over a backdrop of Ruffini's drum thunder—a great closer to an excellent debut.


Track Listing: Twelve 15; Grits; Backdraft; Ddag; Delta Force; Starsearch; E.M.W.

Personnel: Nick Ruffini: drums; Johnny DeFrancesco: guitar; Rich Budesa: organ, rhodes; Paul Klinefelter: bass; Jack Banazak: guitar (5).

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Vectordisc Records


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Mingus, Mingus, Mingus" CD/LP/Track Review Mingus, Mingus, Mingus
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 21, 2016
Read "Black Shuck" CD/LP/Track Review Black Shuck
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: December 17, 2016
Read "Occasional Poems" CD/LP/Track Review Occasional Poems
by John Sharpe
Published: April 4, 2016
Read "Spark" CD/LP/Track Review Spark
by Jeff Winbush
Published: April 1, 2016
Read "In Denmark 1959-1960" CD/LP/Track Review In Denmark 1959-1960
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 18, 2016
Read "Super Petite" CD/LP/Track Review Super Petite
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 17, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!