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Charles Earland Tribute Band: Keepers of the Flame

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Organist Charles Earland, who died in December 1999, was known as “The Mighty Burner.” The intensity of his swing resembled that of the late Art Blakey on drums. An exponent of soul-jazz, Earland was a master of the organ’s foot pedals. His band, usually two or three horns plus guitar and drums, conveyed a big, kicking ensemble sound.

The Charles Earland Tribute Band steps in without letdown where the organist left off. With Joey DeFrancesco in the organ seat and five former sidemen from Earland’s band aboard, this album swings hard, with conviction and intelligence. Drummer Vincent Ector organized the group, which features trumpeter James Rotondi, tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander and guitarist Bob DeVos (alternating with Pat Martino). Percussionist Kevin Jones, a nonalum, appears on four of the eight tracks.

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