Self-Release – 2017
9 tracks; 49 minutes
Mike Mayco is the keyboard player in Markey Blue, a band nominated in the Blues Blast Awards twice in the last couple of years. On this instrumental project he is joined by bandmates Ric Latina on guitar and Jim Klingler on drums for an organ trio album that was recorded live to tape with no overdubs, so what you hear is exactly as it went down in the studio.
‘They don’t make ‘em like that any more’ you might say, but only a year or so ago out on the West coast we had Little Charlie Baty’s Skronky Tonk CD and in Chicago Chris Foreman plays regularly with Joel Paterson in just such a trio, so perhaps these are not as rare as one might think.
Every track here demonstrates the high quality of the three players involved, Jim keeping the beat as Ric and Mike exchange solos. One of the masters of the Hammond organ in jazz and blues trios was Richard ‘Groove’ Holmes and Mike reprises two of his tunes here: “Groove’s Groove” swings mightily and “Living Soul” is a tremendously fast-paced tune with Mike’s organ playing terrific over some intense rhythm work by Ric.
The other covers are Miles Davis’ “All Blues”, a track from his seminal Kind Of Blue album which is played pretty straight with Mike playing the refrain originally played by Miles, John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley – big shoes to fill! This version was good enough to make this reviewer pull out the original disc to become reacquainted with one of the greatest albums of all time. The adaptation of “Amazing Grace” which closes the album has gospel-infused organ but the beat of the drums seems a little intrusive.
The remaining five tracks are Mike’s originals, all fitting into the same style. “A Frame” opens proceedings, effectively laying down the format for the album with an attractive hook that is passed round between Mike and Ric to be embellished.
“Slow C Blues” brings us clearly into blues territory and Ric shines on this one, as does Jim on “Soul Salsa” where his drums and percussion work sounds like at least two people. “Sundown” is a more relaxed affair which winds across seven and a half minutes with some lovely playing before “Masonville Swing” does exactly what the title suggests with a very bluesy solo from Ric.
Clearly this is as much jazz as blues but the relationship between the two is always close on this disc which is a very enjoyable listen to those with open ears.