Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Week of Picks (Thursday)

Seems to be a resurgence of organ trios in the wake of the popularity of Dr. Lonnie Smith and Joey DeFrancesco.  Young Kevin Coelho (16 at the time of recording!) has created, with the help of his mentor Tony Monaco, his debut CD.  Titled "Funkengruven: The Joy of Driving a B3" (Chicken Coup Records), Mr Coelho and his band mates - Reggie Jackson (drums) and Derek Dicenzo (guitar), who are both members of Monaco's band - play music guaranteed to bring pleasure to lovers of the Hammond organ funk groove that  musicians like the 2 Jimmys (Smith and McGriff) and Charles Earland perfected in the 50s, 60s and 70s. The groove Jackson creates on "Canteloupe Island" is irresistible; when you add the Grant Green-like guitar riffs and Coelho's powerful organ swells, this music "smokes." And, the kid has blues chops as well.  The Trio gives Randy Masters' "Take A Stand" a powerful feel with declarative drums, choppy guitar chords and Coelho's strong push. The melody resembles Bob Dylan's "Just Like A Woman" but with more of gospel feel. You have to love the bebop/funk of Miles Davis's "Donna Lee" and the sweet slow burn of the standard "What's New."  The kid pays tribute to the 2 Jimmys on "McJimmy" and revels in the fatback funk of Dr. Lonnie Smith's "Play It Back" (one can hear traces of The Meters as well as Booker T & The M.Gs throughout the tune.)

"Funkengruven" serves as a fine introduction to Kevin Coelho. One can hear, even at the age of 16 (he turns 17 in late August), he has begun to absorb his influences and find his own voice.  Jackson and Dicenzo not only give great support but display their own formidable chops.  On top of that, they are having a great time and it shows in the playful interactions on a chestnut like "Tangerine" and in  the Latin groove on Randy Masters' "Chagalu."  Will this music change the world?  Probably not but the CD is a ton of fun, so turn it up and enjoy the ride. For more information, go to

Here's a taste of the title tune, courtesy of Chicken Coup Records and IODA Promonet:
Funkengruven (mp3)

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