New England area guitarist John Stein has reissued his original 1999 organ-combo release featuring sax legend David "Fathead" Newman. Along with bonus tracks and a re-mastering job, the music sounds just as fresh and soul-stirring as it did eight years ago. However, I haven’t compared sound processing differentials to the 1999 production. In any event, Stein’s style and mode of attack is a natural for this type of musical environment. Sleek and zestful in scope, the musicians are definitely in synch amid an aggregation of intuitive exchanges.
No doubt, the band navigates through a groove-based aura, where the soloists execute the jazz vibe with a feeling. And it’s a divergent set at that. Check out Newman’s light-as-a-feather flute lines on "Hotcakes," where he quotes The Beatles’ "Eleanor Rigby," atop his band-mate’s relaxed vibe and snazzy accents. The band’s temperate ballad titled "Our Love Will See Us Through," is constructed upon Stein’s dark-toned and warmly rendered phrasings, contrasted by drummer Dave Hurst’s ever-so-gentle use of brushes. However, they mix it up quite nicely with medium-tempo swing vamps, accelerated by organist Ken Clark’s tasty soloing spots and Newman’s blustery Texas tenor lines. They even work through a quietly pulsating samba beat on "Culebra." Overall, Stein professes the art of good taste and a deep-rooted sensibility for the classic organ combo muse, all heightened via a modern uplift and distinct proclamation of good cheer.