139

Deep Blue Organ Trio: Wonderful!

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Chicago's Deep Blue Organ Trio mines one of popular soul artist Stevie Wonder's most fertile creative periods—the late sixties through the early seventies—on Wonderful!. The organ trio format is known for its unvarnished soulfulness, and the group's reverent treatment of these familiar hits gives a breezy lift to Wonder's always engaging and ebullient melodies.

Before about 1960 there was rhythm and blues in the record bins, which meant music made by anyone with an African heritage, be it the rough-hewn bluesman Robert Johnson or the smooth crooner Johnny Mathis. Then, in 1959, along came Berry Gordy with his Tamla and Motown Record labels—and soul music was born.

Berry, via the music produced at his labels, was responsible in large part for the 1960s' soul music explosion and its crossover to white audiences, with artists like Smoky Robinson and the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Supremes, and one of the most successful of the crossovers, Stevie Wonder, who put out dozens of charting singles and several classic albums, including Talking Book (Motown, 1972) and Songs in the Key of Life (Motown, 1976).

A Hammond B3 organ, guitar and drums is a pared-down way to express music, especially Wonder's often highly produced sounds. But it is a refreshing way to listen to Wonder's songs, a way that emphasizes the purity of his catchy melodies. On "Jesus Children of America," from one of Wonder's handful of masterpieces, Innervisons (Motown, 1973), organist Chris Foreman drives the tune forward on a cold gusty wind, with drummer Greg Rockingham supplying an undercurrent of cymbal splashes, punctuated by snare drum pops. Guitarist Bobby Broom's lines are sharp and piquant, slicing through the wash of the B3.

"My Cheri Amour," the title track of Wonder's 1969 album, and one of his most popular and recognizable tunes, get a ruminative treatment, laidback and relaxed, with Broom comping beautifully behind Foreman. "Golden Lady," another huge Wonder hit from Innervisions, has a feeling of yearning, with Broom and Foreman trading the lead in front of turbulent drums.

Wonder's music has always been well-crafted and tightly-arranged. The Deep Blue Organ Trio works with the same tight, flawless, soulful approach to music making, and they have crafted a fittingly Wonderful! tribute to living legend.

Track Listing: Tell Me Something Good; If You Really Love Me; Jesus Children of America; My Cheri Amour; Golden Lady; You Haven't Done Nothin'; It ain't No Use; As; You've Got it Bad Girl.

Personnel: Chris Foreman: Hammond B3 organ; Bobby Broom: guitar; Greg Rockingham: drums.

Title: Wonderful! | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Origin Records

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Call Me a Cab

Call Me a Cab

Bobby Broom
Upper West Side Story

Blues For Modern Man

Blues For Modern Man

Bobby Broom
Song and Dance

Radio
Album Reviews
Catching Up With
Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Megaphone
Interviews
Album Reviews
Multiple Reviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Soul Fingers

Soul Fingers

MRi Entertainment
2018

buy
SoulFingers

SoulFingers

MRI Entertainment
2018

buy
My Shining Hour

My Shining Hour

Origin Records
2014

buy
Upper Westside Story

Upper Westside Story

Origin Records
2012

buy
Wonderful!

Wonderful!

Origin Records
2011

buy
Plays for Monk

Plays for Monk

Origin Records
2009

buy

Upcoming Shows

Related Articles

Read Along for the Ride Album Reviews
Along for the Ride
By Jack Bowers
June 20, 2019
Read Ancestral Recall Album Reviews
Ancestral Recall
By Karl Ackermann
June 20, 2019
Read Eternal Youth Album Reviews
Eternal Youth
By Don Phipps
June 20, 2019
Read Curiouser and Curiouser Album Reviews
Curiouser and Curiouser
By Mike Jurkovic
June 20, 2019
Read Getz At The Gate Album Reviews
Getz At The Gate
By Chris May
June 19, 2019
Read Keep Talkin' Album Reviews
Keep Talkin'
By Dan McClenaghan
June 19, 2019
Read Night Owl Album Reviews
Night Owl
By Dan Bilawsky
June 19, 2019