13

Eric Schugren/Vin Scialla/Brian Charette/Mike DiRubbo: Wake Up!

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Eric Schugren/Vin Scialla/Brian Charette/Mike DiRubbo: Wake Up!
Wake-Up! is one of those surprises that jazz lovers live for. The names—four of them on the very well-designed, 1960s Blue Note Records-like cover—aren't top shelf in terms of profile. They might even be completely unfamiliar to the less than fanatical jazz fans. But what a band! What a set!

There's just something that says "lacking pretense" about a set of good old-fashioned organ combo sounds. Grant Green, Larry Young, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff are names familiar for organ group releases, beginning with the format's heyday in the late 50s and early 60'sixties. What drummer Vin Scialla and tenor saxophonist Eric Schugren have put together is a fortified organ trio—that is, drums, sax and Hammond B-3, with Brian Charette at the B-3 here—augmented with an extra sax: Mike DiRubbo on alto.

What the group crafts is less the soulful and bluesy sound of the tradition, to a leaning at a more straight ahead, sometimes edgy, sometimes world music-tinted atmosphere, beginning with alto saxophonist Jackie McLean's knife edge tune, "Appointment in Ghana." Altoist DiRubbo studied with McLean, and he displays a similar bite in his tone on a tune that opens the door to the contrasts between him and tenor man Schugren. DiRubbo gets the first solo, and he sets it on fire. Organist Charette gets his turn, a concise, smooth noodling dance along the keyboard, cool as apple apple in an ice bath. Then Schugren steps out, fluid and loquacious, piling up a bunch of ideas in less than a minute with an approach not unlike the underrated George Coleman, who played briefly but brilliantly with trumpeter Miles Davis in the early 60s.

Inside the ensemble, Vin Scialla, elevates an already top level sound, swinging from subtle to flashy, from ear-catchingly flamboyant to laying down nuanced low profile accents peppered with sudden grab-you-by-the-collar exclamations.

Most of the rest are tunes written by Schugren or Scialla, with one, "New Beginnings," written by vibraphonist Steve Nelson included. Schugren and Scialla partnered in penning "TC Blues," featuring the drummer on as lively world music percolation of djembe, riqq and shekere.

"Bluein' Away the Blows" has a guest slot for trumpeter Fabio Morgera. He sits in on "New Beginnings," too, along with trombonist Jeff Fairbanks, building the group up to a vibrant Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers level for a fine blowing session effort, and the closer, "MPB" is a popping percussion fest, with congas player Nano Valerio joining the quartet alongside Scialla, injecting some gorgeous Latin grooves.

A knockout effort. Here's hoping it's a working band with more plans up it collective sleeve.

Track Listing

Appointment in Ghana; Vernon Jackson; TC Blues; New Beginnings; Mean Irene; Bluein' Away the Blows; Wake Up; Bibimbop; MPB.

Personnel

Eric Schugren: tenor saxophone; Vin Scialla: drums, djembe (3), riqq (3), shekere (3); Brian Charette: Hammond B3 organ; Mike DiRubbo: alto saxophone (1-6); Jeff Fairbanks: trombone (4, 6); Fabio Morgera: trumpet (6); Nano Valerio: congas (9).

Album information

Title: Wake Up! | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Liftoff Records

Tags

View events near New York City
Jazz Near New York City
Events Guide | Venue Guide | Get App | More...

Shop Amazon

More

Read Chicago Waves
Chicago Waves
Carlos Niño / Miguel Atwood-Ferguson
Read Last Desert
Last Desert
Liberty Ellman
Read Catch Me If You Can
Catch Me If You Can
Jeff Hamilton Trio
Read Human Rites Trio
Human Rites Trio
Jason Kao Hwang
Read Totem
Totem
Ferdinando Romano
Read Pure Heart
Pure Heart
James Carney

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.