Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Organ jazz sounds just fine these days

Critics haven't always warmed to their sound, but I sure have been enjoying some ORGAN JAZZ records these past few warm days.
Ben Ratliff, writing in "Jazz: A Critic's Guide to the 100 Most Important Recordings," explains the working-class roots of the music driven by the HAMMOND B-3, a type of jazz he refers to as "essentially tavern stuff.":
"It is blues-based music with gospel tinges that connected strongly with audiences in small clubs in black neighborhoods around the northeast (big organ-jazz towns: Buffalo, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Newark, and -- less so -- uptown Manhattan), the Midwest, and a little bit on the West Coast. It has never lost its functionality, and it has never been expressive enough to become a black art for tourists."
Ratliff also notes the time when the organ-jazz subgenre emerged from it's relatively shadowy obscurity:
"It stayed in its own box, benefiting from outsiders' patronage only indirectly and after a long wait, when the sampling technology of international dance-floor music in the late 1980s and 1990s borrowed some of its grooves."
The music certainly has grooves enough to share, which is why I enjoy it so much on these beautiful days spent driving with the windows rolled down.


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