Purdie / Fabian / Oswanski
Consolidated Artists Productions
Here, the living legend of laidback-shuffling funk drums and quick-fire rimshot/hi-hat attack Mr. Bernard “Pretty” Purdie joins up with journeyman musicians Ron Oswanski (Hammond B-3 organ) and Christian Fabian (electric bass) for a trio record of lively, funky instrumentals.
It’s nice! Nice in that way most Hammond-trio albums are, although a little goes a long way here – by the end of the album I’m struggling to stay interested, remembering that for all of Fabian’s abilities as an electric bassist that is basically playing a type of electric guitar – or filling that role – and Oswanski’s very safe hands on the keys, I bought my ticket and had it clipped because of Mr Purdie. And even his typically wonderful Purdie Shuffle cannot keep me interested across the five minutes but it feels like ten of a weird and never wonderful cover of The Battle Hymn of the Republic. And the closing take on Miles’ So What sounds so dated – like something Bill Evans (the sax player, not the pianist!) would have made in the 80s.
Those closing tracks aside though…this is good. Very good in places.
And you take a track like B P P Blues, where Purdie is giving the space to play one of his wonderful groove solos and it’s an absolute delight. He’s never too showy, cares about the feel and flow of the tune, and in his way when he’s playing on his own he evokes the shadows of a bass-line, the hover of the Hammond’s melodic runs. He also knows how to sit in deep behind the tune when his bandmates set him up at the start and then re-join after. On the tune 84-85, Fabian’s late-night soft-porn 80s jazz bass line is far more inviting, maybe because it feels like the clue is given in the title – but this is also saved from being B-grade erotic thriller soundtrack fare by the ghosting Oswanski offers and then of course by Purdie’s steady hand. And magic feet.
What I’m saying – and now saying again I guess – is that this is not an absolute classic. And with any other name attached to the drum-throne I might never have heard it. But its not at all shit. And it’s so much better than that when it fires. This is a beyond-competent trio with some very nice ideas, some laid-back charm and just the right amount of slow-burn that moves to real fire.
If you’re a Hammond-trio fan you could do a lot worse than this. And probably have on more than one occasion.
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