JazzTimes 10: Classic Organ Jazz Albums

What to hear when you need to get your Hammond on

9. Oliver Lake Organ Quartet: What I Heard (Passin Thru, 2013)

If anyone could be said to have picked up the mantle of Larry Young’s late-’60s organ experiments, it would be Oliver Lake’s Organ Quartet, with Jared Gold on the keys. Of course, with an artist of Lake’s scope, it could never be that simple. What I Heard is shot through with a creeping noir-ish mood, as well as fits of the expected weirdness (“Cyan,” “Human Voice”) and a wee bit of Latin seasoning (“Palma”). But in keeping with Lake’s musical spectrum, the soul and blues traditions are alive and well from beginning to end. And the last few tracks—the trio of “Lucky One,” “Etc,” and “Thank You”—genuinely suggest a progression from the dark modalities of Young and Unity.

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Michael J. West

Michael J. West is a jazz journalist in Washington, D.C. In addition to his work on the national and international jazz scenes, he has been covering D.C.’s local jazz community since 2009. He is also a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader, and as such spends most days either hunkered down at a screen or inside his very big headphones. He lives in Washington with his wife and two children.