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Highly-regarded New York City session guitarist Tom Dempsey's sixth solo endeavor pays homage to the classic organ combo format, topped with a piquant sense of swing. Tuneful and capacious, the guitarist's dark- toned sound nicely parallels with organist Ron Oswanski's warm phrasings, synchronous progressions and sleek solos. Dempsey's Wes Montgomery-like chord solos and soul-jazz riffs are a constant, as the band occasionally raises the pitch on a program, featuring his original works and modern jazz standards. They don't break new ground, but it's largely about a symbiotic group focus, plotted with melodic motifs.
One of the more captivating pieces on the album is the trio's spin on Paul Simon's "Bridge Over Troubled Waters," as they entwine a soulful New Orleans groove with dabs of hustle and bustle. Oswanski's perky choruses help steer the familiar melody with an upbeat vibe. Dempsey digs deep with a jazzy solo, gushing with subtle inflections and bluesy note-bending instances as he reengineers the familiar theme, but also adds emphasis and circles around the core harmonic structure. His fluent, home-cooking stylizations ride above drummer Alvin Atkinson's peppery shuffle beats and they finalize the proceedings with a lighthearted funk motif.
The trio doesn't mess around and simply takes care of business while executing a no frills but qualitative spin on the jazz organ trio format, partly due to a host of strong compositions and lithe arrangements.
Track Listing: One Hundred Ways; Bock to Bock; Saucy; Ted’s Groove; Bridge Over
Troubled Waters; Always Around; My Secret Love; Ceora; The Big Bailout;
Personnel: Tom Dempsey: guitars; Ron Oswanski: organ; Alvin Atkinson: drums.
I was first exposed to jazz while learning to play chess with my uncles. They would play smooth jazz, and then switch up to more standard types of jazz. But, when they played Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, I was
hooked and I haven't looked back.