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Nick Moran Trio: The Messenger

This Brooklyn-based organ trio outing is distinguished by Ed Withrington’s agile B3 lines and grooving left hand bass lines along with the supple, shifting, swinging undercurrent provided by seasoned drummer Andy Watson, a former sideman to Jim Hall. Moran is a competent player with a warm, inviting tone, good time feel and an ability to play through the changes. But George Benson or Pat Martino he ain’t. And if you’re going to dip into this organ group setting, that is ultimately who you are going to be compared to. Moran’s got command of his instrument alright, as he demonstrates on the up-tempo burner “Sensory Awakening,” but he just needs more killer instinct. And I could’ve done without the octave box on the opening track, “Papa George,” or the excess of chorus on “The Messenger.” For the most part he acquits himself nicely on his nine original compositions here, reserving his most individual statements and aggressive playing for the distortion-laced closer, “Shorter Steps.” But in a world of killer guitar players, particularly in the organ trio setting, you can’t be tame. Next time out, Nick needs to really bring it with more authority and swagger on every track.

Originally Published