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John Altenburgh: Legends of Keelerville

John Altenburgh’s Legends of Keelerville (Altenburgh JGA-0022; 48:48) is an album with a lot of personality and energy. The keyboardist uses both acoustic piano and organ as the backbone for compositions which are lively and raw, and mixed right up-in-your-face. On album opener “Not Forgotten,” for example, Altenburgh pulls friendly sounding piano and bass textures from the Vince Guaraldi gig bag, layered with the big, warm presence of John Greiner’s tenor sax. The composer also adds unexpected twists to the fold, adding gritty organ accompaniment where one might expect tinny washes in the romantic shuffle “Return to the Casbah,” and using intermittent horn blasts to split his Hammond seams on the infectious “Simmer Down.” Altenburgh’s varied, sensitive writing is perhaps best showcased on “Dining with Mrs. Blair,” an affecting, stately jazz dance marked by the melancholy fluegelhorn of Bob Kase.

Originally Published