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Doug Munro

Doug Munro

On Up Against It (Chase), the latest from his group II-V-I, guitarist Doug Munro’s approach to the organ trio is a generation removed from your typical grits ‘n’ gravy Blue Note or Prestige B-3 session from the early ’60s. As he says, “Growing up, I heard the organ in different settings than just jazz, from Felix Cavaliere of the Young Rascals to Lee Michaels’ ‘Do You Know What I Mean’ to ‘Hush’ by Deep Purple to tunes by the Allman Brothers Band and Booker T & the MGs. This was all before I had ever heard of Jimmy Smith. So I have just always dug the sound of the B-3 and never really thought to qualify the type of music you can play on it.”

With Jerry Z on the B-3, Jason Anderson on drums and Munro playing his Gibson ES-165 Herb Ellis model guitar (with a Seymour Duncan ’59 PAF pickup), II-V-I puts a unique spin on familiar jazz themes like “Donna Lee,” “Caravan” and “Softly as in a Morning Sunrise,” addressing contemporary grooves and modern reharmonization while also referencing other songs within the context of the pieces themselves (like the slick quote from Wes Montgomery’s “4 on 6” at the intro to “Softly”). “Covering standards and jazz songs is a good way of ‘shaking hands’ with the listener,” says Munro. “Most people already know these songs so it is a way for them to see where you are coming from musically.”

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