Kresten Osgood: Plays The Organ For You

The leader, best known as a drummer with avant-gardists including Sam Rivers and Wadada Leo Smith, goes funky on the Hammond organ


A tasty slice of finger-poppin’ Hammond funk, sprinkled with some Latin and rock dressing, Plays The Organ For You is further evidence of the breadth and depth of music to be enjoyed on Denmark’s April Records, which I profiled in April last.

Osgood (born 1976) is one of Denmark’s most prolific musicians. Chiefly known as a drummer, he has played with major figures of the avant-garde like John Tchicai, Yusef Lateef, Paul Bley, Sam Rivers and Wadada Leo Smith. But as his engaging sleeve note makes clear, Osgood has long been a funk ’n’ organ man whose early jazz heroes included Lou Donaldson and Dr Lonnie Smith. He played drums with Smith, as well as with Billy Preston and Sam Yahel.

Osgood tells us that he has been getting in shape to make this album for the past 25 or so years. He delivers big time, with a classic soulful sound and plenty of rhythmic diversity and drive. His trio members Nordsø and Dietl are also drummers. Somewhat amazingly, Nordsø learnt the electric guitar from scratch in order to take up Osgood’s invitation to make the session: he contributes tasty lines, with some judicious use of effects, stretching out on Wildfire and Baby Let Me Take You In My Arms.

Dietl – once a student of Osgood’s – comes across as a natural, assured and deep drummer: his “subtle kind of poetry” rightly rates a special mention in Osgood’s sleeve note. Enjoy the crisp back-beats of the opening Play It Back or the delicious floating shuffle grooves and crisply kicking touches of Dansevise. Eriksen’s judicious percussion ups the colouristic factor, notably on a relaxed and driving version of Jamal’s 1950s classic Poinciana.

Osgood dedicates this most enjoyable album to Dr Lonnie Smith, “who has taken the Hammond organ beyond our wildest dreams”. I hope Smith (1942–2021) got a chance to hear a test pressing.

[NB: this is a further opinion of the record first reviewed here.]

Play It Back; Poinciana; Wildfire; Når Lyser Bryder Frem; Baby Let Me Take You In My Arms; Onsaya Joy; Dansevise; By The Time I Get To Phoenix (37.58)
Osgood (Hammond A102 org); Fridolin Nordsø (elg); Ludomir Dietl (d); Arto Eriksen (pc). Copenhagen, March & April 2020.
April Records APRO97CD