Brian Auger is a legend in the world of music. Having been on the scene for close to 40 years, influencing many musicians including Medeski, Martin and Wood with his signature Hammond B3 style. Brian has a chance to really stretch out throughout. He has always been about one thing, and that is exploring the groove. It must be gratifying for an artist to be able to share in a musical experience with his children. This latest release from Brian is such a moment. His son Karma (drums & percussion), and daughter Savannah (vocals) help Brian achieve his goal in spades. There are so many great moments on this recording.
"It Burns Me Up" is a composition covering a familiar topic. That being the current state of the world. What makes this track so special is that we get a chance to hear his daughter Savannah’s direct vocal prowess, as well as her sense of delivering the vocal in an eloquent, and forthright manner.
You want an example of how Brian builds a solo, listen to his composition, "Isola Natale". He starts off simple, and then like an emerging 10 foot wave, embraces the notes and takes off into his own musical zone. Having listened to Brian’s music since the mid seventies, this aspect of his playing always intrigued me. so much energy and love of playing. Another highlight of this tune, is Chris Clermont’s excellent style of playing the guitar. Smooth, lots of feeling, and taste allow Chris to showcase his talent as a musician deserving wider recognition.
Marcus Miller’s funky "Splatch" features Brian at his best. Laying down the foundation for the rest of the group to build on. I always thought that Miles Davis’s version from his album Tutu was a hard act to follow. This one comes close. I’m sure that Miles was looking down on this session with a smile of approval.
Dan Lutz’s bass introduces us to the Latin rhythms of "Victor’s Delight". you would have to be dead not to enjoy this one. So infectious, and driving. Brian gets to swing like a mad man on piano. This is a side of Brian’s I am not familiar with. He grooves throughout building on each chorus like an erupting volcano. He switches to organ for some of his trademark licks. his trading bars with Karma on drums and percussion is pure delight. I can just imagine hearing this one live. The whole hall would be bopping. The whole band settles into the groove, riding the wave throughout.
Closing out this recording is a group effort entitled "Jam side Down". This tune is a seven minute summation of what Brian is all about. Reminds me of what he was doing during the seventies with previous incarnations of the Oblivion express. The man still has it which is great to se after so many years of not only recording his own material but also helping out other aspiring musicians through education, dedication, and a real love of the music. The Miles Davis and Art Blakey schools of music may be gone, but the spirit lives on in Brian Auger and his desire to spread the word, and offer an opportunity for aspiring musicians to display their talents.
This is earthy music. Music with teeth. Music for the soul by a master of the Hammond-B3. Never forgetting his roots, Brian and company have made a recording that sad to say, you don’t really get to hear much these days. This is music to savor, to dance to, to groove to, and oh yes, to keep on your CD player for days on end. A job well done as well as a living testament to Brian’s immense talent.