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Joe Kap Organ Trio: Street Noise

The sonic potential of the Hammond B3 organ fascinates Joe Kaplowitz. “I believe the B3 is capable of making any sound a person can hear,” he says in the liner notes. He goes on to describe the inspiration behind some of the tunes: weird New York street sounds (“Street Noise, Part 1” and “Part 2”), a meditative state induced by extended late night organ workouts (“Like Water” and an oblique version of Cole Porter’s “It’s Alright With Me”), the funky sound of organist Bill Heid (“Mister Heid”) and plain old grooving (“Eldorado” and Marvin Gaye’s “Try It, Baby”). A dark, edgy aura dominates the album.

Guitarist Paul Pieper and drummer Marty Morrison work hand-in-glove with the organist. “Mister Heid” is a superlative ensemble effort, with Morrison crisp, neat and cooking hard. Even when things turn experimental (“Street Noise, Part 2”), the music seems more arranged (or guided) than random. There’s some jam-band-style playing here, too, as on “Neurosis.” Pieper’s edgy style might remind you of John Scofield from time to time.

Despite references to older organ styles, the trio sounds more at home with the Larry Young-and-beyond era that includes players such as John Medeski, Sam Yahel and Dan Wall. While feel-good rhythms and harmonies are part of the group’s bag, they’re only part of its total sonic kaleidoscope. This is a fine group that is realizing different sounds in an organized, well-directed way.

Originally Published