Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Big Phat Hammond of Dave Siebels and the Big Phat Band

A number of years ago, organ jazz was at its nadir. It just wasn't at the top of listening lists. All that changed in the '90s, and it still has great cache on the current scene. And why not? Like the blues, classical Indian music and Vivaldi, to the uninitiated it may all sound the same. Those who delve deeply into the music know that's not so. Jimmy Smith, the grandaddy of the modern sound, had one way of going about it, Don Patterson something a little different, and then Charles Earland and Larry Young, they stretched the borders of what the style was supposed to encompass. And all that goes for the other cats who have worked behind the Hammond keyboard(s). Like the blues, it has a bag that at any point in time is normative, and players transgress or conform according to their musical vision.

That brings us to the CD of the day, Dave Siebels with Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band (PBGL). Mr. Siebels plays inside the tradition with soul and skill. The Big Phat Band gives you very tight, grooving big band accompaniment. The pieces and their arrangements by Siebels and Goodwin are also responsible for giving this disk distinction. You have excursions in flat-out funk, like the blazing hot rendition of Stevie Wonder's "I Wish." And you have a few nice numbers by Hefti and Schifrin, both masters of the big band sound. Then there are Siebels originals, good vehicles to kick up some dust. They do that.

In the process, there's new life emerging from a form that could get stale in other hands. Siebels and Goodwin put together a program that will please anyone into the Hammond and/or a straight-ahead funkifying big band. To me it's like a refreshing sorbet that clears the palate between courses. Your ears will be refreshed like that.


  1. Hi,

    This sounds interesting. I've checked out your blog for a while now and like the depth of what you're covering. I'll have to look some of these up!

  2. Glad you like it, Bing. I think it's an exciting time right now for new music making on this planet, even if the economics of it are quite problematic. I hope I can be on hand, at least electronically, for any important developments. I will try, anyway!