Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

A Killer Party Album and a Chinatown Album Release Show From Organist Brian Charette

A gutbucket album is the last thing you would expect Brian Charette to make. He’s been pushing the envelope with organ jazz for the better part of two decades. His most recent album was a solo release recorded during the dead of the 2020 lockdown, full of devious electronic rhythms, some pretty far-out textures and even some electric guitar. So his latest album, Jackpot – streaming at Bandcamp – is pretty radical, a fond homage to the urban lounge organ jazz of the 50s and 60s. Charette is turning the swanky Django into a gutbucket with his album release show there on July 22 at 7:30 PM; cover is $25.

This is a party record. You can tell instantly how retro Charette is going to go with the first number, Polka Dot Pinup, from the Booker T-style implied call-and-response, to guitarist Ed Cherry’s circling Mike Bloomfield licks, to drummer Bill Stewart’s loosely-tethered snare sound. Tenor saxophonist Cory Weeds’ carefree solo completes the glossy picture.

Charette turns up his roto a ways for his cheery, blippy solo, matched by Cherry’s punchy Wes Montgomery attack in the shuffling second track, Tight Connection: once again, Weeds’ smoky flurries are the icing on the cake. The wryly titled Triple Threat is a warmly soulful jazz waltz that the group expand on a longer leash, notably with Weeds’ rapidfire first solo.

Stewart has irresistibly counterintuitive, deadpan fun with the cha-cha groove in Good Fortune, setting up Charette’s similarly sotto-voce sentimental funk. Charette looks back toward Larry Young with the acerbic voicings, chugging single-note lines (and a deadpan sax figure early on) in Upstairs, Then the quartet swing casually through High Ball, the most lowdown, sly and catchiest tune here, with a tantalizingly brief, bluesy Cherry solo.

Vague Reply is a brisk shuffle and just as full of hooks, but with more bite, Cherry’s punchy chords and Stewart’s increasingly stormy cymbals behind Charette’s steady eight-note runs. The album’s title track has a knowing, peek-a-boo syncopation, Weeds taking flight before Cherry and then Charette bring the lights a little lower. How much loaded subtext is there in the album’s final cut, Unmasked? It’s hard to tell. Weeds takes a long, crescendoing solo in this genial, contentedly oxygenated swing tune, This is the kind of record that makes you feel that you’re partying among pros rather than amateurs.

July 18, 2022 Posted by | jazz, Music, music, concert, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment