Hammond B3 player John Novello tried something true to his nature on his latest release B3 Soul from the Nu Groove/No Go label. The album is not a typical organ-based jazz repertoire that folks may expect. Novello dabbles in modern music like techno-pop, Latin-jazz, smooth soul and gospel-style funk. His material is fraught in proceeded beats with overtones of gospel, R&B/soul, and funk. The wiggling notes and squiggling lines of Novello's organ patterns are complemented by saxophonists Eric Marienthal and Jeff Nathanson and enhanced by the tuneful grooves of bassist Bill Sharpe. Produced by Andy Goldmark, B3 Soul combines dance-funk with soul-jazz and the result is a shimmery mix of funkadelic tones, gospel-fringed raptures and sexy-jazz curves.
The power tracks on the album are the smooth jazz numbers "Liquid Soul," which features Jeff Nathanson on saxophone, and "Apologize," which has Eric Marienthal on saxophone. The music's relaxing serum has an euphoric feel reminiscent of saxophonist/composer Darren Rahn, but Novello merely peppers the album with embracing smooth jazz tunes like these.
A bulk of the album is soaked in dance-oriented soul tracks, like the Latin flavored "On The Way To Havana" and the sparkly suspenders of techno effects that glitter "Transxpress." The funky wiggles of "Baila" zip up and down the melodic frames as the salsa shimmies of "The Groove Suite Theme" rattle and shake with the enthusiasm of a Brazilian dance. Novello's keyboards skid and bounce with an energy that rivals the agility of a shooting a star as he creates lofty somersaults and quaking raptures. Also lending their finery are vocalists Carmel Helene and rapper Jevon McGlory, who provide an added dimension to the songs.
John Novello is not just a jazz artist, but also a maker of gospel, R&B/soul and sexy-clad funk. His forward-thinking is admirable and his skill to fuse splinters of music from different dance-based genres make him a consummate musician able to broaden contemporary jazz music's girth in ways that activates audiences feel good vibes.