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Telmo Fernandez Organ Trio: The Soul Jazz Beat Vol. 1

Bruce Lindsay By

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The Telmo Fernández Organ Trio is a bit of a throwback—to 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 is—a 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 straightforward—12-bar blues, funky two chord vamps—but 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 mould—David 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 date—a real pleasure to hear.

Track Listing

The Kid; Tooty Booty; Snake Bone; High Heeled Sneakers; Brown Sugar; Cool Eyes; Lennis; Blues For Someone; A Smooth One; Laura.

Personnel

Telmo Fernández: guitar; Phil Wilkinson: organ; Jose Luis Gómez: drums.

Album information

Title: The Soul Jazz Beat Vol. 1 | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Free Code Jazz Records

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