When considering a new artist in a category that has been arguably played to death over the years, one may give pause to think: do I really need to go there?
However when I first heard The Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio on the fine new compilation from Colemine Records that I reviewed earlier this month (click here) I had to check them out. I have to admit, I was initially a bit excited I’d (ahem) discovered something fresh before everyone else.
Well, not quite everyone, it seems… From the band’s website: “Since its humble beginnings in May, 2015, the trio has issued two Billboard-charting albums and a 45; toured nationally and internationally, and performed on live at Upstream Music Festival broadcast by KEXP that garnered over 7 million views.”
Well, I guess I’m better a little late to the party than never!
But seriously folks, the notion of an organ driven instrumental collaboration is not exactly a new thing, echoing back to the ‘60s when artists like Brother Jack McDuff, Jimmy Smith, Richard “Groove” Holmes, Shirley Scott were popular and often collaborated with other musicians such as George Benson and Wes Montgomery.
In more recent times, the great Medeski Martin & Wood collaborated a number of times with John Scofield. And of course there were organ-guitar hits in the rock and soul world, notably Booker T & The MGs (ie. “Green Onions”) and the great grooves of The Meters (“Cissy Strut”). And we can’t forget that James Brown put out several instrumental albums featuring his organ playing.
So, mash all that influence up with a decidedly harder edge (definitely closer to the Meters vibe) and you’ll get an idea of what The Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio is cooking up. These folks have found their own sweet little corner of this good vibe instrumental soul jazz / acid jazz niche.
On their new second studio album— called I Told You So — there aren’t really any big surprises but that isn’t a bad thing. It is all about the tunes and the grooves and this album has many greats in that regard.
The album is just so enjoyable I’ve played it over many times already and it only gets better, each spin revealing new layers. They do a sweet cover of Wham’s “Careless Whisper,” but other than that they are crafting their own originals.
Sonically, the album sounds terrific with a rich, earthy vibe to the recording. Guitarist Jimmy James’ sound oozes with big — at times seriously badass overdriven — amplifier tones.
I don’t know if I Told You So was made digitally or in the analog realm but I’m not especially concerned one way or another — I’m not hearing any harshness and overall the album sounds real nice. The lower end and mid range is sweet while the high-end is crisp and natural sounding. Grant Schroff’s drums are full bodied and organic. No gimmickry here.
I got my hands on one of the opaque pink vinyl limited editions of I Told You So and happily it is a great pressing — well centered and quiet. There is a red vinyl version out there as well for those of you who get into the colored vinyl thing.
It’s no accident at the cover for I Told You So seems to mirror the design aesthetics of vintage 1960s Blue Note jazz releases. The bold yellow and black vibe of Colemine’s label on this release echoes the classic early Prestige Records “fireworks” design from the late ’50s and early ’60s.
This is fun stuff, folks: groovy grooves you can dance, walk, drive, work and even just sit and listen to. You can’t beat that sort of flexibility when it comes to a listening experience. The Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio albums seem to sell out pretty quickly at stores from what I’ve seen so far, so you should jump on them soon if you want to grab a copy.
You can also find I Told You So streaming on Tidal and Qobuz and both versions sound fine. The Qobuz version is streaming in 24-bit, 44.1 kHz Hi Res form so it has something of an edge over the 16-bit Tidal stream, but both are fine and will let you get an idea of what this fine band sounds like.
I am looking forward to digging down into The Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio‘s other releases soon.