The Telmo Fernández Organ Trio is a bit of a throwbackto the classic hard bop organ trios of yore. The title of the trio's first album, The Soul Jazz Beat Vol. 1
, tells it like it isa soulful, jazzy, collection that's high on melody and groove, a head-shaking and hip-swinging sort of album, low on pretention but filled with sheer joy.
Guitarist Fernández leads the trio alongside drummer Jose Luis Gómez and ex-pat British organist Phil Wilkinson
. Fernández has already appeared on one of 2015's most enjoyable albums, the guitar duo Take A Second
(Free Code Jazz Records) with Marcos Pin
. That album focused on standards, while on The Soul Jazz Beat Vol. 1
Fernández' trio mixes standards such as Lou Donaldson
's "Snake Bone," Horace Silver
's "Cool Eyes" and Tommy Tucker's "High Heeled Sneakers" with a few original tunes.
The tunes are often structurally straightforward12-bar blues, funky two chord vampsbut the trio invests each one with energy and enthusiasm, digging deep to produce some slinky grooves, irresistible rhythms and beautifully-crafted solos. The Fernández-Wilkinson composition "Tooty Booty" is a case in point, Gómez' funky groove is immediately catchy and serves as a fine foundation for the organ and guitar to trade riffs. Wilkinson leads "Snake Bone," Gómez and Fernández laying down the swinging rhythm. Fernández' "Lennis" gets a gentle Bossa-Nova groove before Gómez kicks in with a more upbeat and up-tempo rhythm and Wilkinson's "Blues For Someone" is a blues shuffle with a loose, open feel.
One tune breaks the mouldDavid Raksin's "Laura." Over Gómez' brushes and Wilkinson's organ chords, Fernández plays the ballad with considered, gentle, grace: a lovely end to the album.
The "Vol. 1" part of The Soul Jazz Beat Vol. 1
suggests that further volumes are on the way. Let's hope so: the Telmo Fernández Organ Trio gives these old school sounds a freshness that brings them right up to datea real pleasure to hear.
The Kid; Tooty Booty; Snake Bone; High Heeled Sneakers; Brown Sugar; Cool Eyes; Lennis; Blues For Someone; A Smooth One; Laura.
Telmo Fernández: guitar; Phil Wilkinson: organ; Jose Luis Gómez: drums.