Best known as a sideman extraordinaire, Danish drummer Kresten Osgood has shared stages and recording studios with Sam Rivers, Paul Bley, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Steven Bernstein, and dozens more. But he reveals his lifelong quest to master the Hammond organ on Plays the Organ for You, where the grease is deep, the funk is fulsome, and Osgood’s command of the Hammond A-102 keys and attendant vibrations is impressive.
Joined by Fridolin Nordsø, guitar; Ludomir Dietl, drums; and Arto Eriksen, percussion (Nordsø and Eriksen, in an interesting subtheme, are also drummers), Osgood lifts the torch for Jimmy Smith, Charles Kynard, Shirley Scott, Chester Thompson, and Jack McDuff in an album that is both tribute and testament to the Hammond organ’s timeless viability and appeal.
The quartet is ferocious throughout the album’s eight tracks, recorded in spring 2020. Dr. Lonnie Smith’s “Play It Back” opens the proceedings with a churning groove, Osgood pumping the Hammond as a master should, his touch light, his solo percolating. The Afro-Cuban tinge of “Poinciana” put me in mind of the Meters getting skanky at a New Orleans garden party. Osgood’s crystalline touch on the keys is pure 1967 bliss. Rusty Bryant’s “Wildfire” is slow, fat, and funky; “Når Lyset Bryder Frem” recalls the ease of Booker T. & the M.G.’s; the tempo and the tension gets harder on Richard “Groove” Holmes’ “Onsaya Joy.” Osgood closes out with “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” a medium-tempo marvel of soothing melody, saturated organ tones, and the past made new again.
Plays the Organ for You is a terrific album that should reignite the fever for organ bars across the world, or at least bring joy to your personal garden party.