Veteran Hammond B-3 master Vince Seneri’s newest CD, Street Talk, gives us all something to chat about. Fortunately, it’s all good.
Seneri starts us off with a strong Latin groove (hey, remember when people used to dance to jazz?) on "Softly, As In a Morning Sunrise." And what a groove! With all that’s going on, there’s not an extraneous note or beat. Guest flutist Dave Valentin takes a marvelous solo full of frills, fun and multi-phonics, ending up trading fours with leader Seneri and co-producer Bob DeVos. DeVos shows a nice Grant Green style, cool and solidly funky.
Drummer Buddy Williams and percussionist Gary Fritz work hand-in-glove, with both hand and glove fitting firmly in the pocket. There is not one cut on this album where the groove isn’t impeccable.
We kick right into Seneri’s Ray Charles tribute, "Unchain My Heart," with the leader bringing in former Charles buddy and tenor saxophonist David "Fathead" Newman for authenticity.
It would be a sacrilege for any self-respecting B-3 man to miss this opportunity to pay tribute to Jimmy Smith and Seneri does not disappoint. He keeps it simple and heartfelt, with an after-hours feel that is truly touching.
Seneri floats in another big gun on a wave of Caribbean cool, bringing in tenor man Houston Person to guest on "Flamingo." The leader continues his judicious use of guests with Valentin showing up on "Reccato Bossanova" and Person on a smoky, two-in-the-morning version of "These Foolish Things."
Next up, Monk dances a samba on a surprisingly effective version of "Straight No Chaser," DeVos again effective and Valentin seeming to have more fun than anyone in the room. "Organ Boogaloo" goes funky with Fathead. At this point it’s important to note that despite all the great guest spots and rhythmic changes, at all times you can feel Seneri leading the session from behind his big, bad B-3.
The rhythm section launches into a 30-second piece of Latin exploration that makes you wish they had kept it up a bit longer, and then mellows the album down with "Beautiful Love" and a lovely version of "Walking My Baby Back Home" with Houston Person in his loveliest mid-tempo style.
A quick romp through the standard "There Is No Greater Love," and Vince Seneri and crew’s Street Talk has given us something to talk about on the street all day.