NU_OPEN
You are here:Home>CD Reviews>Soul / Funk Jazz - CD Reviews>Homegoing by Skip Heller Quartet

Homegoing by Skip Heller Quartet

In an era (this one,alas) where most musicians are "specialists" (i.e., those that usually do but only ONE THING really well), guitarist/composer Skip Heller is a devoted eclectic who refuses to be limited to any one stylistic bag/style/etc. But for the purposes of this disc, Heller is a jazz guitarist paying tribute to the old-school Soul-Jazz Philadelphia organ combo sound - the tradition that Shirley Scott, Groove Holmes, Joey DeFrancesco and Jimmy Smith exemplify. But to his credit, Heller & company don’t merely re-heat the steaks ‘n’ chops of his forebears: they use that glad ‘n’ greasy, blues ‘n’ R&B-based organ/guitar/horns/drums nightclub sound as a template on which to respectfully (but not too) strut their stuff. They do simmering work-outs on standards (Styne/Cahn’s "Time After Time," voiced in a deep-velvet, fine ‘n’ mellow Billy Billy Eckstine/Johnny Hartman ballad style by guest Dave Alvin), a sly R&B-grooved tribute to The Beatles’ song-craft ("From The Night Before") that’d likely get approving nods from Jimmy Smith and McGriff and nifty, fresh-sounding, cliché-free originals (the mournful waltz "Emily Remler" with Cool School clarinet from TV/film-music whiz Robert Drasnin). Heller’s hearty-yet-refined string-bending uses Grant Green’s burnished blues-bop style as its launching pad, with elegant flashes ‘n’ tinges of T-Bone Walker and Frank Zappa. Mike Bolger plays some rollicking, imaginative, fleet-fingered Hammond B-3 in thrall to The Masters, albeit as a Learned, Eager Student, not an Uninspired Imitator. Homegoing will take you to that Inner South Philly Afterhours Club you never knew you had in you.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Skip Heller Quartet
  • CD Title: Homegoing
  • Genre: Soul / Funk Jazz
  • Year Released: 2002
  • Record Label: Innova
  • Musicians: S. Heller: electric guitar; Robert Drasnin: alto sax, clarinet; Mike Bolger: organ; Howard Greene: drums; Dave Alvin: vocals (on 2 songs); Lee Toft: trumpet (on 2 songs).
  • Rating: Three Stars
Login to post comments