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Ken Clark Organ Trio: Eternal Funk

Publicity for this Boston-based trio compares it to Medeski Martin & Wood. Organist Ken Clark, guitarist Mike Mele and drummer Steve Chaggaris lean on the beat (high-stepping funk, shuffle, boogaloo, backbeat ballad), build dynamic climaxes, sprinkle in jazz solos (mostly Mele) and deliver the goods throughout this album. Clark controls the B3 like a master: hip bass lines, sizzling chordal washes, feel-good riffs, funky blues lines and syncopated accents figure in the mix.

Clark’s “The Doctor Is In” and “Rhythm & Biz” are my favorites. There’s a hint of Dr. John in the former as the funk goes from major to minor keys. The latter suggests Jimmy McGriff. Then there’s Miles Davis’ “Blue in Green,” the album’s sole ballad-very slow, with organ swells and sweeps and a bent-note guitar solo. Not the way Miles (or Bill Evans, who may have penned it) envisioned it, but he might approve anyway.

The groove, the sonic power of the organ and a soulful message are a forceful combination for reaching the people, all the way from the church to the dance floor. Can’t beat the feeling. Eternal Funk has it.

Originally Published