Guitarist Skaff’s second CD as a leader is primarily an update of the familiar guitar-organ-drums trio format that filled urban bars with live music in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Nine of the ten tunes have this instrumentation with George Colligan handling the Hammond and E.J.Strickland on drums. Skaff’s tone is similar to Grant Green’s but his ideas are less pentatonically based and much of the material is more difficult to play than the typical group from back in that day was willing to take on. The record benefits from original tunes, six from Skaff and one from Colligan and three less familiar ones that have not been overplayed, Strayhorn’s “Lotus Blossom” , Shorter’s “Angola” and Fiona Apple’s “Fast As You Can”, which will please jazz fans who have enough recordings of standards. The quality of the performances will satisfy listeners seeking more music in this format.
Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.