The organ will forever be the red-headed stepchild of jazz, in fact much more common in rock though rarely as a lead instrument, usually an element of coloration. Brian Ho is taking the opportunity to shove the instrument back to the forefront and has gotten together a swingin' boppin' threesome to help him, cats who are not exactly unfamiliar with jazz's prime period. Organic features a gent not heard enough, guitarist Calvin Keys, alongside Lorca Hart (Billy Hart's son) and newcomer saxist Oscar Pagilinan, who favors a Rusty Bryant / Hank Crawford / Grover Washington approach. And, man, is Ho ever generous with solo time for everyone!
Yeah, these guys improv extremely well, taking things outside the period sound ever so much but never in such a way that the center is lost. Matter of fact, there's a LOT more jamming going on than is at first evident. Catch the 8:23 workout on Horace Silver's always welcome Song for my Father and luxuriate in everyone constantly taking off in their own direction, elongating the melody line with variations ad infinitum. Here and elsewhere, though, it's obvious Ho really likes the old Jimmy Smith / Brother Jack McDuff / Lonnie Smith sound but nonetheless trots out some surprisingly Brian Auger-esque riffs and lines. Still in all, this is ensemble work—studded with solos galore, sure, but the gentz function as an interdependent unit, not a gaggle of gloryhogs.
Organic manages to capture vintage atmosphere and tonalities with the olde delicious edge which portended what was to come (much more radical fusion) while nudging the field in that direction. That whole 'groovin' now, lookin' ahead' thing is perfectly embodied here, as the temper of the entire affair finds itself adroitly balanced. Ho's own Restoring Faith leaps out the furthest in time but he and his chums have gotten together a sound and attitude that ends up being totally…well, organic.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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