Monday, May 25, 2015

Brian's Funky Trio, Benny's Groove, & Clarence's Smokin' + Organ Trio CDs

Firehouse 12 in New Haven takes a turn towards the "funky side" this Friday (5/29) when Meriden CT native Brian Charette brings his Mighty Grinders to the Elm City.  Helping him dish out the rhythms is guitarist Will Bernard (Stanton Moore Trio) and drummer Eric Kalb (Charlie Hunter, John Scofield).  Charette, who began his career as a pianist, learned to play organ after moving to New York City and getting several gigs on instrument.

Charette has a new recording out this week.  "Alphabet City" is his 3rd trio date with Posi-Tone Records and the first to feature Bernard   and drummer Rudy Royston (both the organist and drummer appear on Bernard's 2011 Posi-Tone release "Just Like Downtown.") While Charette's previous CD, "Good Tipper" blended pop and jazz standards with originals, the new album features all Charette tunes.  Pieces such as "Sharpie Mustache" and "Disco Nap" are danceable ditties with the accent firmly on the "groove" but not at the cost of melody. Most of the tracks go in very interesting directions including the Booker T & The MGs-inspired "Split Black" (interesting sound effects) and the playful, verging on "free form" sounds of "Hungarian Major" (love the vintage horror movie organ tones!)   There's such a bouncy, springtime feel to "West Village" while the high-energy "They Left Fred Out" kicks serious butt.  Royston is the perfect drummer for this trio as he plays with great taste and equally great fire.  Bernard plays impressive rhythm guitar, often supplying the rhythm while the drummer struts.  He's also a strong soloist, as displayed on the ballad "White Lies" and the Philly Soul-infused "Detours." This is great music for driving through the country with the windows wide open.  For more information, go to

As for the Firehouse 12 gig, Brian Charette's Mighty Grinders play 2 sets with the first commencing at 8:30 p.m. For more information, go to or call 203-785-0468.

The musical excitement at The Side Door Jazz Club in Old Lyme does not let up as the weather warms up. This weekend, Jan and Ken host 2 fine artists. On Friday, they open the door to tenor saxophonist Benny Sharoni. The Israeli native, who has lived in the Boston, MA, area for almost 30 years, has a wonderfully round tone, is a big proponent of playing melody yet is a forceful soloist. He's been playing a number  of gigs over the past month and will continue through the summer in support of his most recent self-released album "Slant Signature." He's bringing most of the musicians who played on the disk and that includes Todd Baker (bass), Steve Langone (drums) and the excellent pianist Joe Barbato. This unit has worked together for a number of years and it shows in their fine interactions. They'll take the stage at 8:30 p.m. To find out ore about the leader, go to

On Saturday evening, The Side Door welcomes back drummer Clarence Penn, last seen and heard at the performance venue last August supporting Kavita Shah.  This time, he's the leader of Penn Station, a fine quartet featuring pianist Shai Maestro, bassist Yasushi Nakamura, and multi-reed artist Ben Wendel. Mr. Penn is one of those drummers who can play anything, whether it's behind a vocalist like Ms. Shah or kicking hard underneath the Dave Douglas Quintet or moving through the intricate arrangements of  the Maria Schneider Orchestra. Though he has been "on the scene" since the early 1990s, he's only released 4 CDs as a leader, 3 with the Dutch Criss Cross label - his most recent album, "Monk: The Lost Files", came out in Fall of 2014 on the Origin label.  Not what the Quartet will play at this show but I expect it will contain several pieces from the playful "Monk" recording. For more information about Clarence Penn and his busy schedule, go to

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the band begins to play 60 minutes later.  For more information and reservations, go to or call 860-434-0886.

Here's a bit of Monk from the latest album:

It's back to the Trio format for the new CD from organist Jared Gold.  "Metropolitan Rhythm" is the 8th release on Posi-Tone Records and the 4th to feature guitarist Dave Stryker. Filling out the rhythm section is the young drummer Kush Abadey (known for his work with trumpeter Wallace Roney and the son of drummer/composer/educator Nasal Abadey. Gold is quite the melodic player and he works well with Stryker. The New Jersey native, who has worked with numerous artists including saxophonist Oliver Lake, has chosen an intelligent mix of pieces for the new disk ranging from pop tunes such as "Maybe I'm Amazed" to high-energy romps such as Joe Henderson's "Granted" to the rich gospel melody of Isiah Jones'"God Has Smiled on Me."   Gold et al have a fun yet  sophisticated time with Thelonious Monk's "Let's Call This", changing tempos and giving the piece sections where the trio gets deep into the groove.  Where the Charette trio CD above has a funky feel, the Gold trio likes to swing, often with a vengeance. On Stryker's "As Is", Abadey sets a wicked pace, propelling the guitarist and organist forward with great glee.  Soft guitar lines and gentle brush work lead the way into "Risco", a sweet samba that may take listeners back to the 1960s sounds of organist Walter Wanderley.

"Metropolitan Rhythm" is one of those sneakily seductive albums in that the music might not blow you away on first listen but grows on you each time you return.  The CD has 9 tunes in 48 minutes and only one (the Monk piece) over 6.  Dave Stryker shows his worth as both a rhythm guitarist and soloist while Kush Abadey keeps the music percolating without much fuss but great flair.  Jared Gold has proven himself to be a fine soloist and he continues to mature as a composer (his "In A Daze" is a bluesy treat).  This music sounds great on the back porch on an early summer afternoon.

For more information, go to

Listen to the Trio have fun with the Paul McCartney tune:

No comments:

Post a Comment