David Braham

Blue Gardenia

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While most of the tunes on the program for organist Dave Braham's initial outing for the enterprising BlueJay label are well-known standards, they are susceptible to being translated into jazz soul, the stock and trade of the organ. At the same time, Braham does not simply offer a clone of songs that have been recorded frequently by other jazz organists. Many of the play list are getting their initial recorded organ treatment. The title tune, for example, has Braham working closely with guitarist Eric Johnson as he tosses startling glissandos at Johnson's understated guitar. A very effective technique, to say the least. Johnson and alternate guitarist Bob Devos go after each other again on a strutting "Have You Met Miss Jones." Devos' experience with Charles Earland and Richard "Groove" Holmes gives him instant credibility. While tenor man Nat Simpkins is listed on all cuts as participant, he is literally only heard on a few. One of them, "That's All," recalls Stanley Turrentine/Shirley Scott collaborations. His horn has a honking demeanor on "Don't Get Around Much Anymore." Simpkins' efforts return a favor as Braham showed up on Simpkins' initial album recorded just a month prior to this one. But for most of the tracks, Braham's principal foils are the guitar players. The personnel roster also lists Harold Walker on six tracks. If he's there, he's virtually invisible. These apparent misprints notwithstanding, Braham has a nice touch with the double keyboard, multi-stop instrument. He has a lot of character in his technique which means that each tune gets its own distinctive interpretative elixir, not sounding like the previous cut or the one that will follow. The organ isn't as prominent in jazz as it once was. Perhaps this excellent outing by Braham will reverse the trend.

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