Wil Blades Field Notes features guitarist Jeff Parker of Tortoise and drummer Simon Lott from New Orleans.
"He is the future to carry on the legend, the legacy of the organ, of the B-3." - Dr. Lonnie Smith
When Wil Blades sits down at the Hammond B3, count on inspired music to follow. The 34-year old, Chicago-native, Berkeley-based artist is a cornerstone organist of his generation-a modern voice in a lineage that includes giants like Richard "Groove" Holmes, Charles Earland and Brother Jack McDuff.
Having studied at the feet of the legendary Dr. Lonnie Smith and played alongside the likes of John Lee Hooker, Melvin Sparks and Idris Muhammad, Blades has absorbed the spirit of the masters. His extensive collaborations also reflect the high regard in which he's held by contemporaries, including Stanton Moore, Anders Osborne and Nicholas Payton.
Having released a critically acclaimed co-led duo album Shimmy with Medeski Martin & Wood drummer Billy Martin in 2012, Blades returns with a deeply soulful and sinuous nine-track effort, Field Notes, on which he's found fronting his own trio featuring Tortoise guitarist Jeff Parker and New Orleans' drummer Simon Lott.
From the recording's outset, it's easy to picture Blades fingers free-flowing across the keys, feet gliding along the bass pedals in a continuous dance. Syncopation drives songs like "Miller's Time" and "Addis" as the trio locks in tight to a relentless groove. But there's also a refined harmonic vision and deep affection for melody on tracks like "(I Can't Stand) The Whole Lott of You" and "Dewey" where Blades' Clavinet adds a fresh sonic dimension to the proceedings. Shades of psychedelia are weaved within "Parks 'N' Wreck," while a tip of the hat to vintage soul jazz balladry informs "Forgetful" and classic pop swing is at the heart of "I Get The Blues When It Rains."
In its sum, Field Notes is a masterful statement from an artist who's poised to keep the timeless sound of the Hammond B3 organ as vital and compelling today as it's ever been in the history of modern jazz and rock.
1. Miller's Time
2. (I Can't Stand) The Whole Lott of You
6. Park N' Wreck
8. Red Lanterns Are Blue
10. I Get The Blues When It Rains