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MP3 Java Men - A Letter To St. Paul

Hard hitting all original indie jazz featuring virtuosic guitar, screaming organ and swinging drums.

8 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Jazz Fusion, ROCK: Progressive Rock

Since the turn of the decade, organ combos have made a bit of a comeback. So, maybe the time has come for the Java Men, a group hailing out of Louisville, Kentucky. But, they are an organ combo with a difference. Rather than aping the groovin''-on-a-hot-summer-night sweaty prototype, they play a breezy, energetic variant on it. Todd Hildreth does not rely on the clich├ęs set down by Jimmy Smith, Groove Holmes and Johnny Hammond. Thankfully, there''s not an endless trill over a walking bassline in sight. Hildreth tends to play his instrument with a straight, vibrato-less tone, reeling off spiralling, Coltrane-ish lines. He also explores the unique, sonic properties that a Hammond can provide. Craig Wagner''s guitar is similarly unaffected. His solos develop from clean, single-line runs into dense chordal patches with a strong rhythmic crunch. There''s also a bit of country twang to his tone, most notable on "Jimmy the Spock". Ray Rizzo''s drumming holds it together, going from a cool swing to a strong funky backbeat.

The music runs the gamut from the tricky and tuneful ("The Only Peace I Know"/"Cellophane Mary") to the mysterious ("The Color Of A Mirror" which bears a bizarre resemblance to late-period Tom Waits) to the absurd ("Gaddzooks", which crosses a dancing, juju flavor with a drunken mariachi chorus). Throughout, there''s an exuberance to this music that makes it well worth investigating.

Robert Iannapollo - Cadence 1/97 (p. 101)

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