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The Tuesday Night Band Featuring Billy Holloman|
This Is Organ Night
(Artist’s Quarter, © 2004)
Review Date: Nov 2008
by Jim Angehr
For me, a blues guy, there are three kinds of jazz: 1) the smooth kind, coming to an elevator near you, 2) the cool and complex kind, served at parties where everyone wears turtlenecks and you can’t pronounce the cheeses, and 3) the greasy kind that makes you feel like you’re at a barbeque, where the sauce has tang and the music’s the same way. If you prefer the barbeque to the turtlenecks and elevators, you’ll appreciate the jazz trio of This Is Organ Night, from The Tuesday Night Band featuring Billy Holloman.
“Organ Night,” technically, is every Tuesday at a club called The Artists’ Quarter in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Tuesday Night Band boasts Kenny Horst on drums, Gary Berg on saxophone, and Billy Holloman on Hammond B-3 organ. These musicians have played the AQ together for almost ten years, and their album combines the assurance of veterans with the looseness of a club gig. (Which is as it should be, since Organ Night was actually recorded at the Artists’ Quarter itself.)
The disc begins and ends with blues-based numbers that really cook. The opener, “Real Good’n,” showcases the ensemble cohesiveness of the trio and allows plenty opportunity for the musicians to exhibit their considerable soloing skills. Holloman’s organ is fluid, fast, and knows how to work both with the beat and against it, while Horst has room to supply inventive fills on the turnarounds. “Funky Mama,” the closing track, is a last kiss-off of bluesy playing, and saxophonist Berg blows like it’s a show’s finale. Both of these songs display abundant energy mixed with an easy, tasty groove.
In between these two workouts, you’ll hear jazz that touches on soul (“Sister Sadie,” with rousing, call-and-response interplay towards the end), funk (“Footprints,” in which the band seems to have gone walking in New Orleans), and Tonight Show-style, big band splashiness (on “Cute”). There’s even a snappy rendition of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again” that’s so enjoyable that if you see one of their shows, not only will you be expecting something like “Danny Boy” next, you’ll want it. Holloman shines as a master B-3 practitioner on cut after cut; check out how he uses the low end of the Hammond like a finger-popping bass on “Dis Here” and “Well You Needn’t”. The only misstep on Organ Night, in my opinion, is the cover of Paul Desmond’s “Take 5” (most commonly found on Dave Brubeck’s Time Out), which I fault less for their performance than their selection of it—“Take 5" has been played at too many turtleneck parties where they don’t want you to pronounce the cheeses, but you can anyway.
Besides that quibble, sink your teeth into This Is Organ Night. It plays well at soirees and also rewards repeated, careful listening. With the great Jimmy Smith having recently passed, there aren’t many trios left that can play this kind of jazz this well.
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