Essence All Stars

COMPOSERS: Essence All Stars
LABELS: Hip Bop Essence
WORKS: Organic Grooves
PERFORMER: Joey DeFrancesco, Dr Lonnie Smith (org); Tony Purrone (g); Kenny Garrett (as); Grover Washington Jr (ss, ts); Idris Muhammad, Lenny White (d)
This lively, immediately accessible album eschews both the hip, knowing glibness of much post-modern jazz, and the relentless subordination to an unchanging beat that often afflicts contemporary organ-led ‘groove music’. Instead, it filters an attractive variety of bluesy wails and the odd slow, slinky shuffle through two of jazz’s most skilful contemporary organists, augmented by the pleasingly unpredictable, astringent alto of Kenny Garrett and the breathy intimacy of Grover Washington’s tenor. The jazz-organ genre is famous for showcasing great guitarists and so it is singularly appropriate that the album’s only constant, Tony Purrone, produces neat, incisive yet inventive solos throughout, perfectly setting off both Lonnie Smith’s considered but dramatic playing and the swirling, joyous energy of Joey DeFrancesco. CP