DR. B! / NOBLE: Cherokee. ABERCROMBIE: Ralph’s Piano Waltz. Medley: HEFTI: Splanky/TROUP: Route 66. LERNER-LOWE: On the Street Where You Live. McLURE-BOGLE: Walkin’ / Mike Bogle, Hammond B3 org/voc; Rich McLure, gtr; Ivan Torres, dm / MBP/Groove (no number)
This CD features pianist-organist-trombonist-singer-arranger Mike Bogle, who is apparently well known in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area. After graduating from the Miami School of Studio Music & Jazz as a pianist, Bogle doubled on trombone and became a member of the University of North Texas’ One O’Clock Lab Band. He has also worked with Doc Severinsen, Jaco Pastorius, Bobby Caldwell, Diana Ross, and in Latin music. This is his first recording as an organist.
Not having heard Bogle before in any of these various venues, I approached his CD with fresh ears, and heard a very technically proficient jazz organist who swings. His guitarist, Rich McLure, is also very good and sticks to jazz rather than rock style, and drummer Ivan Torres fills in very well. One thing that struck me was that Bogle plays with a very light sonority on the Hammond organ, which suits his amazing digital dexterity on the keys, and does not indulge in the somewhat richer and thicker sound drawn from it by others. In a way, this is an indication to me that this is a pianist playing the organ. He has tremendous sweep and drive but, in a sense, seems not to articulate the notes clearly. What I mean is that his technique is so rapid that everything he plays almost sounds like a glissando up or down the keyboard. In a slower number like Ralph’s Piano Waltz, McLure plays in the more relaxed tempo set while Bogle doubles it. I found his improvisations very interesting despite this feeling that he has a tendency to rush a bit.
He does, however, relax his approach in Neal Hefti’s Splanky, with excellent results, playing keyboard glisses as such and not trying to overwhelm the music. On this track he also scats along with his own playing, and very well, too. In Route 66 he sings the lyrics in a fairly deep-sounding baritone. I really liked his jazz singing; it’s not formulaic at all, but lies somewhere between Mel Tormé and Mark Murphy. On the Street Where You Live glides along seamlessly, with Bogle playing his own bass line on the organ, and here, too, I really liked his improvised playing. And here, it is McLure who plays the double-time licks.
But Bogle saved the best for last: a strange, moody chromatic tune called Walkin’ in which he describes, verbally, walking along a hot, dusty Texas road “where a man comes to grip with his own mortality…where’s he goin’? Nobody knows, and nobody really cares…he’s just walkin’.”
In a sense, then, this is a good old-fashioned organ trio record of the type that used to proliferate back in the early ‘60s…except for Walkin’, the standout track on the album.
—© 2018 Lynn René Bayley
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