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For Hep Cats by Linda Dachtyl

Even though it was lamented that the B-3 organ sound lost some of its prominence in the seventies and eighties, it never went away in Columbus, Ohio, where it remained an important component of the jazz scene there, primarily due to the presence of Hank Marr who lived in that town off and on since the fifties not to mention Don Patterson’s too before he moved to New York and Philadelphia. Another generation of B-3 organists like Tony Monaco and Bobby Floyd stepped in to continue the tradition for over more than a decade as they gained their own measures of national recognition nationally. Yet another of the Columbus organists keeping the flame alive is Linda Dachtyl, who has spent much of her time educating students as well as performing her own brand of soulful B-3 music in clubs around the city. Now Dachtyl has followed up her first CD on Monaco’s Chicken Coup Records, Blue Bop, with a broader assortment of styles with some help from her friends. Not only does Dachtyl engage in an irresistible groove throughout For Hep Cats the other members of her trio for this recording, guitarist Robert Kraut and drummer Jim Rupp; but also, she recruits as the appropriate sidemen and singers to bring to life the music.

Obviously as entranced by the power and the possibilities of the Hammond B-3 as the better-known musicians who play it, Dachtyl concentrates on its soulfulness and its ability to generate a good time among listeners. Indeed, Dachtyl pays tribute to one of the B-3 immortals when she plays Jimmy McGriff’s "Turn Blue," complete first with a full-keyboard roar and a gospel-inspired introduction, and then with its rocking theme before the powerful ending crescendo possible only with the jazz organ. Dachtyl’s sense of fun is evident in her choice of Rudy Toombs’ "One Mint Julep," bouncing along and allowing for Kraut’s swinging solo, though thankfully without the Ray Charles "awwwww." For Dachtyl plays the song not as tribute or imitation, but because it connects subliminally with her and with her audiences.

Local saxophonist Gene Walker, a frequent presence on Chicken Coup records with a long history of working with jazz groups, assists Dachtyl on five of the pieces. He’s especially effective on Rhonda Scott’s slow blues, "Frame for the Blues," as Dachtyl provides the cushion of sustained, sometimes dense chords under his emotionally packed version. Guest vocalists join Dachtyl on some of the numbers as well. Jazzmary Daniels provides the deep blues presence of Nina Simone’s "Do I Move You?" as Dachtyl sways the accompaniment and Walker adds the tenor saxophone fills similar to Houston Person’s style with Etta Jones. On Willie Dixon’s "Little Red Rooster," Larry Smith tells the story through singing with a growling voice, searching vibrato and flatted thirds to continue the concentration on the blues, as Kraut and Walker provide their own vocalistic contribution, but on wordless instruments. And Lady Nikki Scott even dispenses with the singing when she speaks the romantic introduction of "Since I Fell for You, a favorite of R&B radio stations still as it draws in listeners when delivered by singers as irresistible as Scott.

For Hammond B-3 enthusiasts like Pete Fallico, who wrote the liner notes for For Hep Cats, Linda Dachtyl is yet another name to remember in the community of those who play the instrument with undiminished fondness and eternal groove.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Linda Dachtyl
  • CD Title: For Hep Cats
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2008
  • Record Label: Chicken Coup
  • Tracks: Trouble, One Mint Julep,Do I Move You?,Tone Wheel Grease,Little Red Rooster,Tun Blue,Les Chats Bleus,Since I Fell For You,Straight, No Chaser,Frame For the Blues
  • Musicians: Linda Dachtyl (Hammond b-3 organ, tambourine), Jazzmary, Lady Nikki Scott, Larry Smith (vocals), Robert Kraut (guitar), Gene Walker (tenor saxophone), Cary Dachtyl, Jim Rupp (drums)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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