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Gene Ludwig Trio with the Bill Warfield Big Band: Duff’s Blues: Live From the Zoellner Arts Center

It’s too bad the Hammond B3 organ isn’t showcased more often with a big band. It’s a terrific combine producing a big, deep, meaty sound. Case in point: this CD, putting together veteran B3 organist Gene Ludwig, who got his start four decades ago in Pittsburgh, and Big Apple trumpeter Bill Warfield’s Big Band. Ludwig’s trio provides guitarist Bob DeVos and drummer Rudy Petschauer, while Warfield provides arrangements and fields the brass, reeds and bassist Bob Bowen.

This isn’t one of those either/or situations where big band or organ trio play; there’s a lot of interaction between the two, with Warfield providing ensemble riffs, shout choruses, solos and composed interludes to keep the big-band feel alive even during long solos and tracks. Ludwig’s “Duff’s Blues” kicks things off with a dollop of soul jazz: a B3 lead segues into churning big band and organ, Joe Wilder blows a zesty trumpet solo, Tim Sessions offers brash trombone, and the band fades to choruses of B3 licks traded with guitar (catch the “Killer Joe” allusions) before a drum-break finale.

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