From the band's sobriquet, one would imagine we have a cadre of B-3 players ready to go to it all at once, but that's not the case. While such an experiment might prove to be striking and futuristic—would in fact, I think, well verge on the avant-garde in the welter of sound that would emerge—this isn't a foray into post-modernism but rather a return to days of old when the famed Hammond monster was the focus of a stripe of jazz entirely its own, never as fulsomely pursued as should have been the case, now increasingly being made up for. Sax player Dan Moretti in fact included only one B-3 in the quintet, played by Dave Limina, and, via his own instrument, leads the ensemble in the sound of the era the Hammond stood out within, a period including not only McGriff, Smith, and long-famed others but also those who included the keyboard in their work: Turrentine, Burrell, etc.
Right off the bat, one can't help but notice Duke Robillard in the line-up, always a great sign. Moanin' opens the disc with a cut heavily slanted to get Moretti geared up, Robillard chiming in, and then turns over to Shuffle Twist in relentless drum work from Lorne Entress playing beneath Limina's organ, the keyboard lighting the joint up. Moretti steps in with a great old-timey solo as Entress varies the emphatics. Jesse Williams later jumps in for nimble-fingered bass solo, the crowd showing its appreciation for the potpourri as the track winds down.
For quite a few years, I'd sworn off sax as Kenny G, Dave Sanborn, and others rose. I longed for the old days of Rusty Bryant, Gene Ammons, and similar even as I dug the outside strains produced by the wilder shores of the instrument's devotees, only recently coming back into the fold as cats such as Moretti have reinvested the venerable old school with new evocations. He doesn't hog up the spotlight—and maybe, now that I think more upon the matter, that's what really bugged me a couple decades ago, all that instrumentally monovoiced stuff—instead nestling in right beside his bandmates, everyone getting their licks in, melody never lost while expanded, listeners fascinated by the array of moods and interpolations while feeling right at home with good ol' familiarities.
I hafta say, too, that Entress many times really caught my ears—man, that guy knows his skins and sticks—and that Moretti's flute work is exceedingly welcome, an instrument now way overdue for re-energization. But one last thing: pay attention to Duke's work in Da Du Dah, very atypical of his oeuvre, almost avant-garde while Bensonesque! Then there's the cool bit of chikken-pickin' in Free for All. Whenever that guy's involved in something, you know you wanna hear it, and, like Moretti, he stands with his bandmates, not above 'em, everything concentrated on the music, not a set of egos.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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