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Brian Charette: Alphabet City

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Organist Brian Charette mingles jazz, old-school soul and psychedelia on Alphabet City, his ninth recording as a leader. Joined by guitarist Will Bernard and drummer Rudy Royston, Charette presents a dozen original compositions that groove and soothe about as often as they challenge and provoke the ear.

As writer and instrumentalist, Charette is at his best when giving sway to mellower inclinations, and a breezy vibe marks “West Village” and “Avenue A,” the latter an especially fine showcase for Bernard’s warm, robust tone. “White Lies” has a slow-drag pathos with just a tinge of country, while “East Village” shuttles along at a gallop, Charette at his most inventive. The trio also brings some serious funk on the hard-cooking “They Left Fred Out” and the deep groove of “Sharpie Moustache,” which blossoms into a gorgeously anthemic bridge powered by Charette’s choir-like block chords and Bernard’s just-twangy-enough lines.

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