All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

462

Mike LeDonne: The Groover

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
So who knew that Mike LeDonne is actually a Jazz organist cleverly disguised as a pianist? Well, for starters, the folks who've been coming to see him perform regularly at Smoke, the New York City nightclub where he's been the house organist for more than a decade. As it turns out, LeDonne's not a garden-variety organist but an earnest Groover in the image of his main role model, the late Charles Earland. It's no accident that LeDonne has enlarged his trio (guitarist Peter Bernstein, drummer Joe Farnsworth) for this studio date by inviting tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander to sit in, as Alexander not only spent his formative years in Chicago as a member of Earland's quintet but made his recorded debut in 1991 on the organist's album, Unforgettable.

With LeDonne scorching the Hammond B3, Alexander adding heat to the proceedings at every turn and Bernstein and Farnsworth stoking the boiler room, this is an album that grooves emphatically from the outset—the sort of session that surely would have caused Earland to grin from ear to ear. Flag-wavers are among the staples of such narratives, and here we have two, both written by LeDonne—"Blues for McCoy (Tyner)" and "Bopsolete." To say they cook up a storm would be an understatement, but no more so than to argue that, say, "Rock with You," "Sunday in New York," "The Groover" or "On the Street Where You Live" are less impassioned in their own way.

All is not fire and brimstone, however, as the quartet slackens the pace and lowers the temperature on LeDonne's "Deep Blue" and Benny Golson's "Little Mary," the last written for LeDonne's daughter, who has Prader-Willie Syndrome, a relatively uncommon genetic disorder that affects one's metabolism and growth. LeDonne proves to be as fluent and resourceful on the organ as he is at the piano, while Alexander underscores—as though he had to—why he is one of the more captivating and creative tenor soloists on the scene today. Bernstein and Farnsworth have their moments too, and make the most of them with phrases that invariably command one's awareness and esteem.

By bringing into play the Hammond B3, LeDonne has nimbly laid bare a relatively uncharted aspect of his musical persona, and it's one that is sure to please. Long may he groove.


Track Listing: Rock with You; Blues for McCoy; Little Mary; I'm Gonna Make You Love Me; Deep Blue; Sunday in New York; Bopsolete; The Groover; On the Street Where You Live.

Personnel: Mike LeDonne: Hammond B-3 organ; Eric Alexander: tenor sax; Peter Bernstein: guitar; Joe Farnsworth: drums.

Title: The Groover | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Savant Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
Read more articles
That Feelin'

That Feelin'

Savant Records
2016

buy
AwwlRight!

AwwlRight!

Savant Records
2015

buy
I Love Music

I Love Music

Savant Records
2014

buy
Keep the Faith

Keep the Faith

Savant Records
2011

buy
Mike LeDonne: The Groover

Mike LeDonne: The...

Savant Records
2010

buy
The Groover

The Groover

Savant Records
2010

buy

Related Articles

Read "Port Of Call" CD/LP/Track Review Port Of Call
by John Sharpe
Published: August 23, 2017
Read "Autumn Wind" CD/LP/Track Review Autumn Wind
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 3, 2017
Read "My Foolish Heart" CD/LP/Track Review My Foolish Heart
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: March 28, 2017
Read "Clockwise: The Music Of Cedar Walton" CD/LP/Track Review Clockwise: The Music Of Cedar Walton
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 11, 2017
Read "Najwa" CD/LP/Track Review Najwa
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 30, 2017
Read "Resting Spirit" CD/LP/Track Review Resting Spirit
by Troy Dostert
Published: October 13, 2017