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Ellery Eskelin: Trio New York

The lineup-Ellery Eskelin on tenor sax, Gary Versace on Hammond B3, Gerald Cleaver on drums-may lead you to think this is a groove-jazz organ trio. Not so. This band has more in common with an acoustic bebop trio than anything Jimmy Smith or Jack McDuff ever did.

On its face, Trio New York certainly looks like a groove outing. Five standards averaging 15 minutes apiece-the ingredients are there. But the organ often behaves more like a piano or even a second horn than the instrument that too often comes with a license to resort to clichés and gimmicks. You won’t find Versace playing the same lick for 16 bars, holding sustains until your ears hurt, or pulling the drawbars in and out and in and out. What you will find is a good deal of high-minded musical conversation and intent listening to one another.

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