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October 25th, 2021

Brian Lynch - Bus Stop Serenade (Hollistic Music Works)

Trumpeter Brian Lynch has just released a new and interesting album called Bus Stop Serenade, featuring nine of his compositions, and a bonus disc featuring alternate takes of all nine of those songs. Lynch is joined by an all star band including Jim Snidero (alto saxophone), Orrin Evans (piano), Boris Kozlov (bass) and Donald Edwards (drums). Lynch has always been fantastic no matter what setting he’s dropped into, from his time with Eddie Palmieri or the Phil Woods Quintet to the barn-burning series of albums he’s made with Conrad Herwig’s “Latin Side of…” ensemble. So it should be no surprise that with a crack band and material that he’s honed over the past three or four decades is excellent as well. There’s not a bad performance on here, but my favorites are “Keep Your Circle Small” and “24-7.”

Champion Organ Combo - That Other Train (self-released)

Chicago based organ trio, The Champion Organ Combo, has recently released their debut album, That Other Train. Ken Champion is the organist here, along with Jon Williams on guitar and John Scoville on drums. These three groove through a program comprised mostly of standards, from “April In Paris” to “A Night in Tunisia.” The highlights for me include an exploratory take on Miles Davis’ “So What” and Champion’s own “That Other Train.” This is a charming kick-off to what I hope is a long running career for these three.

Lee Heerspink - Monsters’ Impromptu (self-released)

I hadn’t heard Lee Heerspink’s name before his album Monsters’ Impromptu landed on my desk. Considering that organist Jim Alfredson and drummer Randy Marsh make up two-thirds of the excellent Michigan trio Organissimo, I quickly gave it a listen. Monsters’ Impromptu is a fascinating listen, not only because the music is uniformly excellent, but also because it doesn’t just sound influenced by John Scofield’s consistently excellent bands of the mid/late 1990’s, but rather, at moments, it sounds like exactly like those bands. Not just in Heerspink’s guitar tone or phrasing, but in the songwriting and band arranging as well. “Let it Simmer” and “Preach It Gary” are both great examples of this. Elsewhere on the album, some of the other songs feel more like traditional organ trio + saxophone fare, like “What Happens in the Woods.” But wherever the needle drops on Monsters’ Impromptu, you’re going to hear some fantastic and engaging music.