Saturday, May 23, 2015

Brian Charette - Alphabet City (Posi-Tone, 2015)

Brian Charette is an up and coming organ player on the modern mainstream jazz scene who occasionally sidesteps the traditional blues and soul based approach in search of his own personal sound on the instrument. On this album he is accompanied by Will Bernard on guitar and Rudy Royston and drums, and they begin with a tune called “East Village” which is fast and in your face, certainly not background music, with bright guitar and swinging drums driving the music forward. “They Left Fred Out” has a bubbling confidence with Will Brenard developing a Grant Green style of guitar playing and everyone working together nicely but seemingly just a split second apart to keep things edgy. Rudy gets sets a fine backbeat with embellishments for more free-range guitar. The group works in a more traditional 1960’s – 70’s soul jazz groove on “West Village” which gives Charette more room to solo than one the previous song. The drums and guitar are restrained and tasteful and restrained. As if to make a mockery of the previous set up straight-man song, “Not a Purist” blows everything out of the water with Charette’s blasting on electronics and Royston pummeling drums melding progressive rock and jazz fusion. Early 1970’s Genesis and Yes are touchstones here and while that may turn some people right off, I think it’s a blast. The trio returns to a swinging integrated groove on “Disco Nap” which despite it’s title doesn’t go too far out, but does allow Bernard to a take a fine guitar solo that ripples across waves of organ and leads the group to a fast ending. “Detours” has an urgent guitar opening followed by full blooded organ with a deep bass sound developed from the pedals. Royston’s nimble use of the cymbals as the organ retreats works well before everybody returns for a choppy conclusion. The group concludes the album with “The Vague Reply” which is a fast and swaggering performance with rapidly moving guitar and drums taking solos against foundational music from the other band members. This was an enjoyable album, I'm partial to organ trio music, but there's nothing generic here, these musicians have developed their own sound and it should appeal to fans of modern mainstream jazz. (Release date: June 9, 2015) Alphabet City -

Send comments to Tim.