The Hook Up
Chicago-based guitarist Kyle Asche, a finalist in the 2005 Thelonious Monk Competition, honors the classic Hammond B-3 organ trio tradition while updating it with his own modern aesthetic. That balancing act is best achieved on the uptempo "For Those That Are There," which burns in an old-school manner while pushing the envelope harmonically, and also on the swinging "Hide Inside," which features a potent tenor-sax solo from guest Scott Burns. The quartet, with Burns, also stakes out some fresh territory on the darkly lyrical ballad "For Mike." Asche offers an unaccompanied chordal melody intro to a lush rendition of "Alfie," and the trio takes it out in jaunty fashion on the closing shuffle, "The Hook Up."
Asche is no doubt an accomplished player, but the secret weapon here is B3 player Peter Benson. His invigorating, unpredictable and rhythmically assured solos on "Tightrope," "The Best Thing for You," the soulful "Takala" and particularly "For Those That Are There" mark him as the wild card of this fine group.