Bill Stewart

(Pirouet Records)

Review by Brad Walseth

In an unusual twist on the typical organ trio, drummer Bill Stewart chose two keyboardists to round out his trio on his new recording, "Incandescence." Organist Larry Goldings is one of the hottest Hammond B-3 organists on the scene today (he also doubles on accordion on "See Ya") and whose credits are too lengthy to even mention, while pianist Kevin Hays is an avid improviser who has worked with Pat Metheny, Ron Carter and Sonny Rollins. Stewart is, among other things, a long time member of John Scofield's group and works with funk saxophonist Maceo Parker.

The possibilities opened up by this unusual grouping are such that it is somewhat surprising it has not been done more often. It has occurred more often in a rock context to have pianist and organists in the same band (often with a guitarist or two), but this seems to be a rare occurrence indeed in jazz. Fortunately, with the players involved, the experiment is a success. Goldings supplies the bass lines and a healthy dose of that growling, snarling B-3 that we all love. Hays comps in support and shines brightly on his melodic, inventive solos. Stewart handles the drum kit confidently and sensitively on the songs (all his own compositions). The three play well together and seem utterly comfortable in this unusual setting.

Songs like "Knock On My Door," "Tell a Televangelist" and "Four Hand Job" nearly explode with quirky energy, while "Toad" is a smooth and satisfying song with a subtle swing. "Portals Opening" shows the mysterious side of this combination, while the counterpart "Opening Portals" engages with its appealing kinetic kick. Meanwhile, the title track is one of the most successful on the album and ends the recording in such as away as to hope this trio continues to explore the possibilities within their unique format.

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