Sunday, February 08, 2015

Wil Blades: Field Notes - DownBeat

Wil Blades
Field Notes

"Magnificent, wonderful, sometimes tragic" is how Wil Blades is described by his 8-year-old daughter in the opening seconds of this recording. While this is a satisfying organ trio album, it is neither the first nor the last of those things. But it is occasionally wonderful. Blades mans the Hammond B-3 and is joined by guitarist Jeff Parker and drummer Simon Lott for a set of tunes mostly composed on the road but away from the spotlights. Blades sticks to the party groove and serves it nicely, blending a '70s-era Book T & the MGs sound with the occasional spidery out-funk from Parker's guitar. He is not a showy organist. He stays in the pocket and propels the group with healthy doses of stability. Blades affixed a clavinet to the top of his behemoth to complete the '70s vibe for the closing intergalactic swagger of "(I Can't Stand) The Whole Lott of You," while Parker digs into the effects board for his feature number "Parks N' Wreck." "Dewey" revisits the clavinet with a scuzzy waddle, embracing a disjointed groove that appears to be in no rush whatsoever, while the following tune, "Addis," pops with a transferable urgency that works its way around the band. The closer and lone cover on the album is the Big Bill Broonzy honky tonk standard "I Only Get the Blues When It Rains," an unusual choice that gives Parker an airy space to solo before Blades steps in with a hokey drawbar setting. Each tune is a bite-sized chunk of funk, a good soundtrack to an afternoon in the backyard. The trio hangs almost exclusively with tradition, only veering from the road when the adventurous Parker rips a hard left turn.

Wil Blades @ DownBeat

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