Chuck Loeb

Plain 'N' Simple

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Despite having been deeply influenced from an early age by the great organ trio recordings of guitarist Wes Montgomery and legendary organist Jimmy Smith, guitarist Chuck Loeb managed to spend the first 20 years of his career without ever working in that format, focusing instead on jazz fusion (with Steps Ahead and Fourplay) and spending some time as musical director for Stan Getz. But on his first organ trio project, Loeb sounds as comfortable as if he'd been doing this stuff for his whole career. Not only is his playing by turns supple, bluesy, and funky, but the eight original compositions that dominate the program all sound like standards (which is a compliment). "D.I.G." and "Annie's Song" lope along nicely at midtempo, driven gently by Loeb's soft-toned guitar, while "Organeleptic" is a beautiful but complicated headlong romp. Of the originals, only the title track (which is a bit on the smoove side) disappoints. Of the covers, highlights include a lovely take on Pedro Caetano's bossa classic "E Com Esse Que Vou Eu" (featuring Loeb's wife, singer Carmen Cuesta) and an even better interpretation of Hoagy Carmichael's "Skylark" (featuring vocals by Loeb and Cuesta's daughter Lizzy). Though it occasionally gets a bit soft in the middle, this album is a consistent pleasure from beginning to end.

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