Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Paul Moran: “Smokin’ B3 Volume 2: Still Smokin’” (2017) CD Review

On Paul Moran’s new album, Smokin’ B3 Volume 2: Still Smokin’, he tackles some well-known jazz compositions, as well as performing jazz renditions of pop and rock songs. He also delivers a few original tunes. Paul Moran plays Hammond organ, trumpet and flugelhorn on this release. He is joined by Nigel Price on guitar, Jim Mullen on guitar, Laurence Cottle on bass, Mez Clough on drums, Adam Roman on drums, Michael Osbourne on percussion, and Jeff Scantlebury on percussion.

As on the first volume of Smokin’ B3, Paul Moran opens this disc with a Beatles song. This time it’s a cool rendition of “Come Together,” with Moran’s organ taking the vocal line during the verses. But it’s the rest of the tune – apart from the verses – when this version really shines. It becomes a very good, lively jam, with the organ delivering some surprising stuff, and Nigel Price providing some great work on guitar. Plus, I really like the percussion on this track. That’s followed by an original tune titled “Scallywag,” a tune with a good groove with some swing to it, with some lighthearted work on organ. With a title like “Scallywag,” you can expect it to be a playful and fun tune, and you won’t be disappointed. Nigel Price delivers more wonderful work on guitar, and then halfway through, Paul Moran switches to horn. That’s followed by a delightful bass solo. Paul Moran then dips into a mellower, more romantic mood on “Moments,” another original composition. This one has something of a nostalgic quality.

Paul Moran gives us a good rendition of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “One Note Samba,” but for me it’s the guitar part that’s especially exciting. That’s followed by a cover of The Chi-Lites’ “Have You Seen Her,” an interesting choice as The Chi-Lites are mainly a vocal group, and this song’s verses are delivered as basically spoken word. Like with “Come Together,” the organ takes on the vocal line. And like “Come Together,” this track is more interesting during the other sections, when the tune is less constrained, though still keeping that basic rhythm. In those moments, there is some wonderful work on both guitar and organ.

One of the disc’s highlights is the cover of Nat Adderley’s “Work Song,” which features some delicious work on organ. That’s followed by another original tune, “Ruby Blues,” which has some wonderful work on bass by Laurence Cottle, including a solo toward the end. Another of this disc’s highlights is “Fried Chicken,” an original composition featuring some excellent work on organ. Here it is unleashed at times, and rises joyously over that catchy rhythm. This track is a whole lot of fun. The CD concludes with Richard Rodgers (misspelled as “Rogers” in the liner notes) and Lorenz Hart’s “Where Or When,” from Babes In Arms. This song usually doesn’t interest me, but this rendition is quite good, with a cool bass solo.

CD Track List
  1. Come Together
  2. Scallywag
  3. Moments
  4. One Note Samba
  5. Have You Seen Her
  6. The Work Song
  7. Ruby Blues
  8. Blueberry Hill
  9. Fried Chicken
  10. Working In The Coal Mine
  11. Where Or When 
Smokin’ B3 Volume 2: Still Smokin’ was released on September 29, 2017.

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