Since the death of Larry Young in 1978, there have been few organists willing or inclined to investigate the Hammond B-3’s capacity for understatment and subtlety rather than to exploit the outer limits of its volume and power. Sam Yahel seems positioned to follow Young, Don Patterson and (on his best days) Larry Goldings in exploiting the B-3’s pianistic heritage. To do that requires willingness to put harmonic and melodic values ahead of, or at least on an equal footing with, stimulation of the viscera. Yahel’s understated, musicianly style was impressive on Ryan Kisor’s Battle Cry (Criss Cross 1145). Two months after that session, he went into the studio with his Battle Cry rhythm mates, guitarist Peter Bernstein and drummer Brian Blade, for this debut as a leader.
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