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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

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On Fire

Savant SCD 2080



1. Could It Be I'm Falling in Love
2. Spinky
3. Idle Moments
4. At Long Last Love
5. Prayer for Mary
6. Bones
7. In the Bag
Mike LeDonne – Hammond B-3
Eric Alexander – Tenor sax (tracks 1-3, 5-7)
Peter Bernstein – Guitar
Joe Farnsworth – Drums

The conventional organ trio consists of Hammond organ, guitar and drums or Hammond organ, sax and drums. Here you get the best of both worlds, with four excellent musicians grooving along in the best organ-led group tradition. This set was recorded earlier this year at the Smoke club in New York, where Mike LeDonne has led his quartet every Tuesday night for six years. This provides the benefits of a group that knows each other well and can react instantly to what everyone else is doing.

Eric Alexander used to play for organist Charles Earland, so he is familiar with the organ format, and he blows some splendidly extrovert solos. But there are subtler moments as well, like the slow-burning Idle Moments (composed by Duke Pearson), which has a laid-back feel similar to Count Basie’s classic Li’l Darlin’.

Eric Alexander lays out for At Long Last Love, which starts gently but builds through Peter Bernstein’s bluesy guitar solo into an organ solo on which Mike LeDonne demonstrates the instrument’s versatility, including some Jimmy Smith licks. The album ends with Nat Adderley’s In the Bag, delivered with plenty of funky feeling as well as some unusual voicings from Mike LeDonne.

With nearly 73 minutes of no-nonsense music, this is a very satisfying session - especially for those who like the sound of the Hammond organ in full cry.

Tony Augarde


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