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There is always more room for a good tenor-guitar-organ combo. Tenor saxophonist Doug Lawrence leads such a combo for his Alltribe debut. A native of Lake Charles, Louisiana, Lawrence has been performing since childhood. He currently leads the Doug Lawrence Orchestra and has recorded widely as a sideman and as a leader. For Streetwise, organist Dan Trudell, guitarist Ray Macchiarola, and drummer George Fludas join Lawrence for the festivities. Together, they pump out a liqueur-cool brand of organ-tenor jazz that sounds new and vintage at the same time.
Streetwise has a considerably different sound from other recordings by the principalssuch as The B-3 Bombers Live at the Green Mill, on which Lawrence and Trudell also appear. In that case, the day was ruled by "The Funky Drummer" Clyde Stubblefield and the outing was white hot. This is a bit cooler affair, where melody reigns and the band is as tight as a drum. Streetwise sports a bright rhythmic sheen that begins with the opener "Say Little Mama Say." Lawrence’s tenor sounds very Gordonesque throughout, but no better than here. The blues is also represented. "Mellow Gravy" is taken a strolling pace with Trudell providing the greasy Jimmy Smith filigree. Ray Macchiarola shoehorns perfectly into the mix, making this a 21st Century Tenor-Organ Trio disc.
That's a nice vision to have. There are precious few tenor-organ outings, and the newer the better. Doug Lawrence and company serve up a very satisfying plate of soulful jazz on Streetwise. What this disc may lack in pure grease, it makes up for with pure grace.
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.