Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Pat Bianchi Trio, A Higher Standard

The organ trio revival shows no signs of lagging, which I personally think a good thing. To keep it all alive a trio must be very good, of course, or what is the point? Happily such a good, even excellent trio can be heard in the Pat Bianchi conflagration, with Pat on organ, Byron Landham on drums and Craig Ebner on guitar. A Higher Standard (21-H Records) is the album in question and it is very worthwhile.

As implied by the title, this is primarily a set of standards, with a couple of Bianchi originals to spice the mix. The standards on tap are not entirely typical. "Without A Song," "Some Other Time," and "So Many Stars" come out of the great American songbook repertoire but then there are some jazz goodies like Coltrane's "Satellite," Evans's "Very Early" and Pettiford's "Bohemia After Dark." There is also something in the contemporary song realm, Stevie Wonder's "From the Bottom of My Heart."

The musicianship is on a very high level and the arrangements are well done. Bianchi has the bop and post-bop facility we expect in abundance. He has the velocity and imagination of a first-rate Hammondist, and as much a modern post-Earland quality as not. He takes up a good deal of solo time and does it with soul and good pacing. Ebner has the sort of chops and nuance that makes for an excellent second voice in the trio. Landham swings imaginatively and with the nuanced drive of a real pro. Put these three together with this material and you have an excellent trio album.

One of the better organ trio albums of the year so far. Get it!

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