Here's a nice soul-jazz date from Baltimore-based organist Greg Hatza that will happily take many back to the smoke filled clubs when organ combos ruled the scene. Some may remember the two nifty trio dates Hatza recorded for Coral in 1967 with guitarist Eric Gale and Grady Tate. If DJs ever happen upon these, they're sure to become acid-jazz classics. Hatza seems to have vanished from the scene as electronic keyboards and fusion took over jazz and resurfaced only recently, after hearing Joey Defrancesco and being encouraged to return to organ at Defrancesco's urging.
Naturally, Hatza is well steeped in the blue bop of Jimmy Smith. But, like Defrancesco, he seems to gravitate more toward the rapid-fire soulfulness of Charles Earland and the modal funk of Lonnie Smith (though he avoids the otherworlds of Larry Young that Defrancesco sometimes explores). The result on this set, the third of his Palmetto releases, is a pleasing program of solid riffing on catchy jazz rooted in soul, gospel, funk and blues.
The Hatza ORGANization is a solid quartet, featuring returning guitarist Paul Bollenbeck (still poised to fulfill his promise, but good even in his Scofield bag), tenor man Ralph Lalama and drummer Dennis Chambers. The best moments are upbeat: the gospel funk of "Stand Up and Be Counted," the soul strut of "Change the World" and the mode supreme of "Trane Station." The remaining half dozen tunes have an attractive appeal that will sound familiar to those who enjoyed Hatza's previous In The Pocket (thank God, no standards). Snake Eyes won't change the world. But it's good (if not essential) contemporary organ combo swing that isn't as gimmicky or as stiff as most of the stuff coming out today.
Tracks:Stand Up and Be Counted; Snake Eyes; Change the World; One Track Mind; First Your Money Then Your Clothes; Spanish Rice; Every Step I Take; Trane Station; Change the World.
Personnel: Paul Bollenbeck: guitar; Ralph Lalama: tenor sax; Dennis Chambers: drums; Greg Hatza: Hammond B-3 organ.
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. After going through Rock 'n Roll, the Beatles and Heavy Metal/Hard Rock phases over the next eight or so years, I finally bought my first jazz album; We're All Together Again for the First Time by Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan. I was hooked on jazz, and still am 40+ years later.
I moved from England to the USA in 2002, and founded the Brookfield Jazz Society in 2005.
I became editor of the quarterly IAJRC Journalin 2012. The magazine goes to the worldwide membership of the IAJRC (International Association of Jazz Record Collectors) and many major libraries and educational establishments around the world.
As well as being the editor of the IAJRC Journal, I write about jazz and review CDs, vinyl, DVDs and books on jazz.
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