The flames of classic organ jazz are kept burning on Goin’ to Town: Live at the Green Mill, the sophomore release by Chicago’s Deep Blue Organ Trio. On this session, as with all the great organ jazz recordings from decades past, the flames in question are stoked with buckets of deep fried grease. The six tracks, a mix of originals and standards, were recorded live at the famed Chicago club where Deep Blue Organ Trio holds down a weekly Tuesday night gig.
Organist Chris Foreman, guitarist Bobby Broom, and drummer Greg Rockingham comprise a tight, stylish unit. Their individual experiences and years of playing together make for a truly collective sound. The performances on this disc are not only grounded deeply in the blues, as the groups name would suggest, but in other sub genres derived from a blues tradition; bebop, soul, funk, and gospel all play an active role in shaping the groups overall vibe.
Foreman draws effortlessly from the well of organ greats while adding his own unique touch. The title track, composed by the organist, conjures up the spirit of Jack McDuff, while the closing number, Earth Wind and Fire’s "Can’t Hide Love," recalls the driving swing of Charles Earland. The church influence on Foreman’s approach is omnipresent, especially on "12th of Never."
Broom, who has made notable sideman contributions over the years with industry heavyweights like Dr. John and Sonny Rollins, is on top of his game throughout this recording. The versatile guitarist develops his solos on "Once I Loved" and his own "No Hype Blues" to hypnotic levels.
Following in the tradition of drummers Donald Bailey and Idris Muhammad, Rockingham knows the ins and outs of playing in an organ group. The veteran Chicago musician has a fat pocket groove and displays amazing prowess, most notably on "The Way You Look Tonight."
The secret to Deep Blue Organ Trio’s success lies in their seemingly effortless melding of sophistication and simplicity. The healthy state of jazz depends on the vibrancy of such master musicians who are able to operate on a high level of artistry while remaining accessible to the casual listener.