Advertisement
Advertisement

BK Trio: Hit It!

In brief:
"As a soul and organ jazz act, you better have something going for yourself. The BK Trio definitely has enough going for it"

Even if the contemporary infrastructure of the organ combo business is a fraction of what it used to be in the halcyon days, there is still plenty of competition in the field, which by nature is tending to attract folks that love soulful music and are willing to spend their pay check to come down and hear it after a week of hard labour.

As a soul and organ jazz act, you better have something going for yourself. The BK Trio of guitarist Brian Kooken, organist Greg Hatza and drummer Robert Shahid definitely has enough going for it, primarily the contrast between Kooken’s acerbic and enthusiastic phrasing and Hatza’s lively and balanced statements and accompaniment on the Hammond organ.

Advertisement

The repertory of its debut album Hit It!, written exclusively by Kooken, consists of simple, blues-based vehicles for blowing at pretty much all tempi available, which are laid down sturdily but without punch by Shahid, not the first and most likely not the last player in the digital era who suffers from sterile engineering.

Brazilian Blues is the most interesting composition and Kooken’s beautifully formed, extended melody line is the record’s highlight as far as lyricism is concerned. Kooken’s warm and fat tone is reminiscent of Pat Martino and his angular flights across the bar lines, albeit uneven at times, are praiseworthy. He is a blues player at heart, and a fiery one at that.

Hatza is a veteran organist who first made his mark in the late 60s with The Wizardy Of Greg Hatza and Organized Jazz, both accompanied by drummer Grady Tate. His career followed a rather outlandish course. In the early 70s Hatza switched from organ to hardcore bebop piano jazz and subsequently dived into electric keyboard-infused fusion. Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania-born musician had schooled himself as a sitar, tabla and ehru (Chinese fiddle) player, while honing his chops as a certified master of martial arts.

In short, he could Ravi the hell out of Shankar and hold Jimmy Smith suspended in the air on the tip of his index finger. The resurgence of organ jazz in the mid-90s in the slipstream of Joey DeFrancesco’s popularity inspired Hatza to put renewed energy into the B3 organ. His sustained groove and tasteful linear development underlines Hit It!’s relevancy as a contemporary organ combo affair.

Hear/buy BK Trio: Hit It! at bktrio.bandcamp.com

Discography
Hit It; Five; Always Looking Up; Brazilian Blues; Hatza’s Groove; It’s Monday And I’ve Got The Blues; In That Funk Again; 5 Minutes Late; Soul For Shahid (44.40)
Brian Kooken (g); Greg Hatza (org); Robert Shahid (d).

Latest audio reviews

Advertisement

More from this author

Advertisement

Jazz Journal articles by month

Advertisement

David MacGregor: Looking For A Place Called Home

David MacGregor is a Scottish guitarist, composer and music educator. He specialises in world jazz and his main career consists of performing solo and collaborating with other...
Advertisement

Obituary: Bill Smith

Clarinettist and composer Bill Smith, or William Overton Smith to give him his full name, was best known as a member of the octet...
Advertisement

Swingle Singers: Magnificent Seven

Born into a musical family in Mobile, Alabama, in 1927, Ward Lamar Swingle (his real name) graduated from the Cincinnati Conservatory in 1951. He...
Advertisement

Free Jazz Communism

Focusing on the Archie Shepp - Bill Dixon Quartet and their performance at the 8th World Festival of Youth and Students in Helsinki 1962,...
Advertisement

Billie

Director James Erskine's valuable documentary intertwines Holiday's story with that of Linda Kuehl, a literary journalist who in 1970 began a biography of her....
Advertisement

JJ 09/80: Bill Connors – Swimming With A Hole In My Body

Here is another inexpressibly dull LP that virtually defies comment. Connors is an efficient guitarist, and there is something almost masterly in his consistent...