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Notes To and From My Friends by Bobby Floyd

I thoroughly enjoyed Notes to and from My Friends, starring Bobby Floyd on organ, with his exuberant trio, playing a slew of standout tracks. Group regulars are Derek DiCenzo, guitar, and Reggie Jackson, drums, and the CD includes guest artists on five of the nine numbers.

Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, Floyd has toured extensively with such jazz stars as trumpeter Byron Stripling and sax player Rickey Woodard, as well as playing regular local gigs. Steeped in church music since childhood, he shows his roots here, swinging heavily on ballads and soulful gospel tunes.

Another factor that keeps interest high in this recording is the variety of styles displayed. "Get On Board" starts things with an infectious reggae beat, featuring DiCenzo’s guitar. In "Your Basic Gospel Song," composed by Floyd’s mentor, organist Hank Marr, he heats things up with a roaring organ solo, enlisting Bryan Olsheski to share the pulpit with his fiery tenor sax.

Shifting gears, Floyd brings in vocalist Jeannette Williams Brewer with her hip Sarah Vaughn-tinged vocal on "The Nearness of You," driven by drummer Jackson’s steady rat-a-tat Latin beat. Later, on "Hank’s Idea," another tip to Marr, Floyd pulls out all stops, working up to a roof-shaking climax. On "Primera Luz," though, a quiet meditative mood is created, sustained by DiCenzo’s tasteful accompaniment.

In fact, guitarist DiCenzo shows his versatility throughout, going from creative single-note soloing to rhythmic strumming that beautifully complements Jackson’s steady drumming. Listen to the two with their Basie-like groove, shoring the organ’s wall of sound in "Hip Cake Walk." I admit I’m a sucker for a rocking organ trio, but who could resist this CD?

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Bobby Floyd
  • CD Title: Notes To and From My Friends
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2007
  • Record Label: Chicken Coop Records
  • Tracks: Get On Board, Yesterdays, Your Basic Gospel Song, The Nearness of You, Hip Cake Walk, Theme From the Odd Couple, Primera Luz, Hanks Idea
  • Musicians: Donald Duck'
  • Rating: Four Stars
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