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Red Young: The Organzier

Red Young, born in Fort Worth, Texas, has covered the music scene. He has toured with Lloyd Price, Sonny & Cher, Tanya Tucker and Linda Ronstadt; written charts for Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Royal Crown Revue; and led a swing/jazz vocal group called Red and the Red Hots. That’s just a drop in the bucket compared to his full resume, which now includes the debut album of the Red Young Trio, an easy-going organ, guitar and drums combo.

Generally more subdued than Jimmy Smith and mellower than some of the funkier B3 masters, Young and company offer a smoky, late night set rich in atmosphere and mostly low-key soul. The album works as a blues session as well as a jazz session. There are two sets of sidemen: guitarist James Achor and drummer Kenny Sara on seven tracks and guitarist Anthony Wilson and drummer Willie McNeil on five. According to liner-note writer Pete Fallico, the first group aimed for a contemporary sound and the latter group aimed for an older sound. The distinction isn’t all that pronounced, and the whole album sounds nicely straightahead.

Willis Jackson’s “Sportin'” is typical of the jumping style of the Young, Wilson and McNeil trio, with the organist’s articulation fast and light. Henry Mancini’s “Mr. Lucky” is a smoother track by the same players. A chugging Young-Achor-Sara version of “Green Onions” is appropriately soulful, and the same group’s take on Young’s ballad “Pleasure Island” puts a romantic spin on things. There’s subtle variety in the rest of the repertoire, too.

Now’s a great time for the jazz-organ combo, and Young’s album adds a welcome voice of experience and tradition to the field.

Originally Published