Darren Heinrich's new CD "Playbar!" is a sonic delight for organ jazz enthusiasts. Heinrich swings hard and you can hear lots of influences in his playing- Charlie Parker, Jimmy Smith, Don Patterson, Dr. Lonnie Smith; it's all in there. Heinrich has studied the organ deeply with instruction from organ greats, Dr. Lonnie Smith and Tony Monaco.
The CD was recorded live at Heinrich's weekly gig at Playbar in Surry Hills, Sydney. The trio played most Wednesdays in 2013 and their rapport is evident. Sam Rollings, on guitar, has a great tone and great lines. His comping for Heinrich is sensitive and grooving. Tim Firth sizzles from start to finish on drums. He really understands the difference between playing with an organ group vs. a traditional piano/bass rhythm section. This group is tight.
The organ approach here is very nuanced. When Heinrich wants to give you a shout chorus, it's clipped. It doesn't go on and on like it can with some organ bands. He interjects powerfully, makes his statement, and then goes back to grooving. The same thing goes for his solos. He really works a phrase, often with a rare vibrato-less treatment. His short and swinging motifs are slowly developed and organically accompanied by the rhythm section to give a great arc to the performances.
The disk begins with a Lou Donaldson hit, The Scorpion: The long intro cooks with a great bassline and a very relaxed journey to the melody. There's a great moment in the guitar solo with a altered pentatonic riff that really grabs you. I'm Just a Lucky So-and-So, a nod to Don Patterson, swings with a bread and butter shuffle, great solos, and a surprise ending. S'Bout Time, another Patterson favorite, is an up tempo romp based with nice quartal harmony, driving bassline, and a smart organ solo. Dig the great drum solo and amazing sound of this record! There's also a version of Jingles made famous by Wes Montgomery. Heinrich nails the Mel Rhyne walking bass sounds and delivers a great bop solo.
The stone cold funk of the The Poledancer makes you wonder what the story of the song is: Heinrich has a McDuff like whimsy on this cut with nice turnaround changes. Another nice tune is the Heinrich original, Golden Orb, that always stays right in the pocket on a super challenging tempo and is the epitome of what this group stands for, subtle grooving tunes with beautiful jazz lines.
released March 20, 2014
Darren Heinrich - Organ (KeyB Duo MkIII)
Sam Rolling - Guitar
Tim Firth - Drums
Recorded by Scott Christie, 13th November 2013 at Playbar, Surry Hills.
Mastered by Bob Katz
Photography by Matthew Longden
This CD was funded through a crowd-funding campaign. Many thanks to those who made it “pozible”!
Special thanks to: Abel Cross, Daniel Robertson, Sarah Vuong, Dan Barnett, Elvio Previati, Greg Johns, Dr Lonnie Smith, Holly Case, John Wardle.