May 2001

Charles Earland
HighNote Records

Stomp! is the last new recording by the late Hammond B-3 organist Charles Earland, and this March 13, 1999, studio date features the leader with a quintet performing mostly his originals that help him live up to his tag as "The Mighty Burner." Earland became known at the end of the 1960s soul-jazz era but leans more to hard-bop and groove-oriented jazz on this outing with his working band featuring tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, trumpeter Jim Rotondi, guitarist Bill Boris, saxophonist Michael Karn and drummer Greg Rockingham. It's a simmering nine-tune performance, spiced with frontline-blended horns and fine solos all-around.

Earland yields perhaps too much space to his younger teammates and you might long to hear more of the style that made his 1969 Prestige album, Black Talk!, a top seller. One of the best tunes is the 9:33 workout of Earland's churning original, "Prevaricator," but his brief solo comes way past midpoint. Earland seems most comfortable, confident and most expressive with blues-based numbers such as "The Count Is in the House" and the title tune with its rockin' hard beat and Earland's vocals.

Earland was found dead of a heart attack in a Kansas City hotel room on Dec. 11, 1999, but his legacy lives on with this and earlier recordings.

Originally published in May 2001

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