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In the early '70s, the electric Hammond organ was still getting a lot of exposure thanks to B-3 icons like Jimmy Smith, Charles Earland, Jimmy McGriff, and Jack McDuff. It was a prominent instrument in soul-jazz, and plenty of rock and R&B musicians also believed in the power of the B-3. But in Brazilian jazz and pop circles, the instrument wasn't as popular -- some musicians believed that the B-3 wasn't right for the samba beat. Eumir Deodato, however, didn't feel that way. Although the Brazilian musician/composer/producer was best known for acoustic piano and electric keyboard playing, he could handle the Hammond organ and saw no reason why it shouldn't be used in a Brazilian setting. The Hammond organ, in fact, is an integral part of what Deodato does on this 1972 project, which was originally released on LP in Brazil as Os Catedráticos '73 and was reissued on CD as Skyscrapers in 2002. Deodato doesn't play the organ exclusively on this album -- he is also heard on electric and acoustic piano -- but the organ is quite prominent and proves to be a major asset. Much of the material has a very congenial, good-natured quality, and the sound that Deodato achieves on Skyscrapers ends up sounding like a combination of Brazilian jazz-pop/fusion and Earland's more mellow grooves. Skyscrapers doesn't get into the sort of ultra-funky grits-and-gravy jams that Earland was a master of -- Deodato doesn't perform any instrumental versions of Sly & the Family Stone gems -- but his organ solos do shore an awareness of Jimmy Smith (who, of course, was Earland's foundation). The Hammond organ isn't the first instrument that one mentions during a discussion of Brazilian music, but it definitely works well for Deodato on Skyscrapers.

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