REVIEW FOR MY SOLO ORGAN 2020 CD FROM TONY PEGLER, THE LEGENDARY ORGAN PLAYER AND MUSICIAN
Nostalgia is a strange emotion which instantly brings back memories of things that should either be left to fade into oblivion or things that fill your heart with joy and sunshine and this album is firmly in the latter. The whole LA ‘West Coast’ jazz / funk scene of the late eighties and nineties brought a new attitude to both groove and style that is very well documented in this well-crafted album from master keyboardist John Paul Gard – creating virtually live, a range of instantly recognisable instrumental and electronic lead and backing sounds that do this most innovative of musical eras justice.
You can hear the pioneers of the genre speaking again through expert use of today’s technology and the well-honed ear of JPG. Grusin, James, Ritenour, Sample, Sambourne, Hancock and even Shearing – not known for his funkiness – are presented here, not as a pastiche but through their influence on the music scenes of then and now. A mixture of re-works and originals are captured on the fine album with funk, soul and chill tastefully presented and showcasing the musicianship that this album conveys.
All tracks are worthy of many plays but of note are ‘101Eastbound’ with its St Elsewhere / Tootsie motifs, the uncluttered and very chilled ‘Slow Jam’, ‘South Beach’ featuring an almost gospel and insistent piano groove. Bob James’s ‘Taxi’ gets an effective re-work but loses none of its original character and ‘Coasting’ with its super-funky groove, imaginative changes, improvisation and contemporary voicing.
This is an album that you’ll put on continuous repeat for a couple of days and still find a few musical surprises. A JPG sequenced drum track, yes, but everything else is live and in one take. There’s class for you!
heres a old clip of tony playing listen from 3.30 its beautiful!
REVIEW FOR MY FUNKY FEET ALBUM 2020 FROM JASON REBELLO MASTER MUSICIAN
John-paul Gard has produced a joyus,funky,dancey,bluesy soulful, jazz organ album with some great playing, fab production and tasty arrangements......enjoy
here is a clip of jason playing
REVIEW FOR MY ORGAN SQUAD VOL 1 ALBUM 2020 FROM KEITH EVANS HEAD OF PANASONIC AND FABULOUS ORGAN PLAYER AND MUSICIAN
During the 1960’s and 1970’s the worlds electronic musical instrument industries were booming. Human beings had landed on the moon and transistors and large scale integrated circuit boards developed for the space programmes were also transforming the way in which musical instruments could be designed and used to perform music with. Although the electronic organ first graced our ears in 1935 when Laurens Hammond invented his legendary musical instrument which still bears his name to this day, by the time the 60s and 70s were with us the industry had produced hundreds of manufacturers of the instrument, thousands of concert artists and millions of owners around the world whom were thoroughly enjoying making their own music on them. During my own career in this industry I enjoyed working for some of the great electronic organ companies of the era as both a business executive and a concert artist. I was fortunate to see, hear and work with some of the genres finest exponents and instruments and it was a fast moving and exciting place to be.
Change inevitably came along however, as other technological entertainment avenues opened up and occupied our minds and recreational spaces and the electronic organ industry became a mere shadow of its former self. Also, the skill set and performance values required to perform on an instrument of this type had become a disappearing attribute. But fortunately these days once again, and rightly so, the electronic organ has re-emerged and it is a sought after sound and performance skill set in the music industry.
In the early 1980s I was engaged by the Japanese electronics giant Matsushita Electric to join the team marketing its Technics Musical Instruments brand in the United Kingdom. One of the roles I occupied at that time was as a concert performer for the brand and carried out engagements at various concert venues throughout the land. It was during one of these events that I met John Paul Gard, then a teenager, with a deep interest in becoming a concert organist and performer himself. John Paul was musically talented, he had an excellent ear for music and even at this young age was a keen and exciting player. I was happy to help John Paul with his music whenever I could and particularly during my visits to John Holmes Music Centre in Bristol where he was by then working.
My career took me on paths away from the musical instruments industry for nearly a quarter of a century until recently when I could once again continue playing the piano and organ. I had lost touch with many of my music days friends and colleagues and was enjoying picking up some of the past treads again when one day I received a friend request from a certain John Paul Gard. It was not long after that that we met up again.
These days Jean Paul is quite a phenomenal player using a vast array of digital musical instruments to produce some breath taking performances. His music has his own style and flair intertwined with some of the influences of the organ industry greats from back in the day. His new release of albums, which are all fabulous, are full of musical intricacy, musical imagination with attention to detail and all played with soul and energy. If I had to pick a favourite album, which is a difficult task because they are all simply excellent, then his jazz organ renditions take me back to those halcyon days of the electronic organ. It’s ability, in the correct musical hands such as Jean Paul’s, to conjour up some wonderful sounds and blend them with his great arrangements from the titles of the great American song book is quite simply, sublime!
As I mentioned at the start of these sleeve notes the art of performing on an electronic organ was simply going away and becoming a forgotten musical skill set. After listening, I can happily say that these albums bring it all back to life and help to ensure its future as a genuine musical instrument. And, credit where credit is due to JP for keeping up with all the diligent practise over the years that along with lots of talent and energy makes the music come to life and enthral our ears. Thank you, John Paul for all of your music which is truly wonderful to listen to.
Here is a lovely clip of keith playing theatre organ:
REVIEW FOR MY ALBUM 'ORGAN SQUAD VOL1' 2020 FROM LYNDON OWEN
Having not circulated much in the classical world I’ve just discovered that I’ve always misused the phrase “Bel Canto”, and will continue to do so, as seemingly most people I speak to seem to have the same misconception. What I mean by “Bel Canto” is that purity of sound so, when applied to an instrument, a trumpet for example, it should sound like a trumpet and also sound like another trumpet playing the same part, and so on. Trumpets “should” sound like trumpets. Obviously this is a complete anathema to most jazz players who spend their lives developing their own personal sound so its the combination of the player and the instrument that is the “sound”. A very African concept and in some cultures the word “musician” means precisely this; the combination of instrument and player as a single entity. Most listeners can identify their favourite players just by hearing a few notes even if they don’t recognise the tune. So it is here – this is John Paul Gard playing the Hammond organ. This presents a dichotomy. As the Hammond is an electronic instrument and the chosen voicings were very obviously, through and through, “Hammond”; free from modern wizardry of the extended electronic pallet that is currently available and so we verge towards a “Bel Canto” Hammond sound. The outcome is an instrument that exposes the player, forcing them to add that extra stamp of personality to make it “their sound”. Similarly the repertoire is for the most part, tunes that have been the staple of many a jazz player over the years. To make something of them that is both new and fresh is a challenge; a challenge which has been amply addressed not only by JPG but also the rest of the band. Checkout the treatment of “Watermelon Man” or “A Shot in The Dark” for tunes that you think you know but then wander down different paths; a true jazz journey. So what do we have here? A collection of familiar jazz tunes played with the regular voicings of a Hammond organ and as such, a foundation and constraint that inevitably draws on the creative. The musicianship and applied innovation takes us much, much farther and is another fine addition to the output of these wonderful players. This is not the “Bel Canto” treatment, its “Can Belto!”
heres a great clip of lyndon playing
JOHN-PAUL GARD TRIO REVIEW FROM DEMPSEYS CARDIFF
The Definitive Guide To Music In Cardiff
Browse: Home / Live / John Paul Gard Trio @ Dempsey’s, 27th October
John Paul Gard Trio @ Dempsey’s, 27th October
When at school a friend would openly proclaim, with greater frequency than the average Joe, his love for the Hammond organ. Until tonight, it was never truly clear as to why. But having witnessed the John Paul Gard Trio lay down a big, fat masterclass in this particular, and rarely deployed, branch of the jazz oak, this reviewer now must confess his own admiration for this most noble of instruments.
I tried many ways to describe its sound. Slinky, I thought. Luxuriant. Both were apt on the night but, to be fair, the way Gard played passed by slinky luxury and stayed on the train all the way to Awesomeville. At points it was hypnotic in its sound. It was also a pretty remarkable sight on the eyes. Somewhere between a pedal-driven armored vehicle and a four-poster bed, it was unsurprising that, when pushed, the behemoth offered enough power to take down alien starships.
In two sessions, the trio ran through standards with the Hammond a nuanced and textured presence. Though, at its best at its most noticeable – firing out the sustained notes and passionate solos – even when the organ was quieter it was normally for the benefit of exquisite jazz guitarwork from Richard Jones and utterly impeccable percussion from Gethin Jones. And when they played George Benson’s The Man From Toledo all three combined in glorious harmony.
These Dempsey’s sessions rarely bring anything to the pass that isn’t technically exceptional, mentally engaging or generally jazztastic. That they made the effort to carry the organ up the staircase shows the promoters’ commitment to Cardiff’s jazz scene and we, as a city, are all the more lucky for having them.
REVIEW JON DALTON TRIO CD
Featured Artist: Jon Dalton Trio
CD Cover - Link to Artist's Site
CD Title: Warm Ghosts (in a) Cold World
Record Label: Innervision Records
Style: Straight-Ahead / Classic
Musicians: Jon Dalton (guitar), John-Paul Gard (organ), Andy Roger (drums)
Review: With a nod to the classic Hammond organ/guitar trios of the 1950s and 60s, guitarist Jon Dalton presents a toe-tapping, feel-good session of swinging standards and soulful original compositions with Warm Ghosts (in a) Cold World. Although based in Los Angeles, Dalton recorded the disc in his homeland of England with organist John-Paul Gard and drummer Andy Roger.
With a style heavily influenced by guitar giants such as Wes Montgomery and Grant Green, Dalton utilizes singing, single-note lines with horn-like dexterity. Rejecting inappropriate flash for lyricism, the guitarist constructs warm, listener-friendly solos with an emphasis on maintaining the groove.
The relaxed interplay between Dalton and his trio-mates shines throughout, especially on the gospel-inspired "Groove Merchant," Miles Davis' "So What," "T4JOEY," a minor-key waltz written by Gard, and an ultra-hip version of "The More I See You." Gard demonstrates a thorough understanding of the deep traditions of organ jazz, emulating the styles of Jimmy Smith, Big John Patten and Jack McDuff. A convincing example of the organist's ability to dig deep into the blues well can be heard on Dalton's "Chisler's Blues."
A bright moment from the recording is the up-tempo swinger "Plastered," with Roger pushing hard behind the drums and Dalton and Gard delivering stirring solos. All in all, Warm Ghosts (in a) Cold World is a fine example of strong group interaction from three exceptional performers.
JOHN PAUL GARD DUO REVIEW BRECON JAZZ CLUB
Band : JOHN PAUL GARD and PHILL REDFOX O’SULLIVAN
While Collins and Evans represented an interesting new discovery Gard and O’Sullivan were musicians I was already fairly familiar with.
John-paul Gard is a Bristol based organist who has been on the scene for over a decade and who has accrued a strong following in South Wales and the English West Country. His projects have included the band Pedalmania and Cookbook Project, his trio with guitarist Alex Hutchings and drummer Gethin Jones. His latest album is “Come On Rita”, a trio recording made with Kevin Glasgow, best known as a virtuoso bassist but here appearing on guitar, plus Jones at the drums.
I’ve seen Gard perform live on a couple of occasions with the Cookbook Project at the Queens Head in Monmouth, an event that always takes place on the last Saturday before Christmas and which is always very well attended and also highly exciting. Gard also performed at the 2013 Wall2Wall Jazz Festival in Abergavenny with a trio featuring drummer Mike Brian, of Siouxsie and The Banshees fame, plus Indigo Kid guitarist Dan Messore.
Tonight Gard was teamed in a duo with drummer Phill ‘Redfox’ O’Sullivan, another popular figure on the South Wales jazz scene who has played with saxophonist Martha Skilton, The New Era Reborn Brass Band and many others. He has performed with some of Brecon Jazz Club’s overseas visitors including pianists Juan Galliardo and Atsuko Shimada and led the house band at the inaugural Wall2Wall Jazz Festival in Abergavenny in 2013 where he accompanied saxophonists Christian Brewer, Martha Skilton and Ben Treacher plus trumpeter Damon Brown. O’Sullivan is an accomplished, highly supportive musician who always delivers in any musical situation.
Tonight was the first time that Gard and O’ Sullivan had performed as a duo but one would never have guessed as they struck up an easy and instinctive rapport from the start. The lack of a bass player was never an issue as Gard handled the duties with his feet, something that he’s always made a feature of with his pedalboard clearly visible to audiences. Similarly the absence of guitar was hardly noticed as this merely gave Gard more scope to roam around the two manual keyboard on his Nord C20 - not actually a Hammond then, but sounding remarkably similar to one. Apart from hard core organ aficionados I doubt if many people actually noticed, and regardless of who the manufacturer was the music still sounded great. Gard is one of the best organ soloists around, a fiery and fluent player who is something of a local hero but who is arguably deserving of a national reputation.
The duo started off with the title track from “Come On Rita” , a lively start that demonstrated the impressive technical skills of both musicians.
The jazz standard “My One And Only Love” introduced a touch of gospel to the arrangement and also included the first of many quotes as Gard wove a quote from “Jingle Bells” into his solo. Well it was the last club night before Christmas and the whole gig had a relaxed, almost party atmosphere about it.
The next piece was unannounced but I suspect that it was the Gard original “Waltz For Evans” (I assume that’s Bill not Gareth) from the “Come On Rita” album. Gard’s soloing was typically fleet fingered and this time he managed to weave the melody from “Greensleeves” into the fabric of the tune. Great fun.
Many of Gard’s titles are dedication to other musicians. “Tea 4 Joey” honours that giant (in every sense) of the Hammond Joey de Francesco and is based on a chord sequence by guitarist Pat Martino, with whom De Francesco once played. The piece was played in bossa nova style with O’Sullivan responding well to Gard’s melodic prompting.
The duo’s version of “Moanin’”, the hard bop classic written by pianist Bobby Timmons for Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers was played at the request of Brecon Jazz Club’s Lynne Gornall. Gard and O’ Sullivan had great fun with this with O’Sullivan’s military snare patterns recalling another Blakey classic, “Blues March”. Meanwhile Gard’s quote laden solo saw him trying to play “twelve songs in about two minutes”, almost inevitably including “Jingle Bells” again.
The trio wound up their set with a tune by Larry Goldings, another of Gard’s Hammond heroes. “I Would Like To Be Your Jellyman” saw the duo getting funky with plenty of space for O’Sullivan to express himself with a series of drum breaks prior to a full length solo. After the funk came a gospel flavoured coda as Gard finished with a flourish.
Except things weren’t quite over yet. Lynne Gornall invited Collins and Evans back to the stage and the evening concluded with a good natured jam by the newly formed quartet. First up was Collin’s “Number One Blues” which saw the composer singing the lyrics as Evans and Gard traded solos on guitar and organ before O’Sullivan rounded things off with another drum feature.
“Flip Flop Fly” was played as a kind of blues shuffle and a highly enjoyable evening of music finished with “Money”, not the Pink Floyd song but the one covered by The Beatles with Evans and Gard again feeding off each other with the organist delivering another playful, quote filled solo.
All in all this was a hugely enjoyable event that delivered some excellent playing and singing from both acts and it was great way to conclude Brecon Jazz Club’s highly successful 2015 programme as everybody went home happy and full of the Christmas spirit.
Lynne was also able offer us some encouraging news on the future of Brecon Jazz festival following the cessation of Orchard Media’s involvement with the event. Brecon Town Council is very keen that the event should continue, understandable given how much money the Festival contributes to the local economy, and it now seems likely that something will happen next year with local promoters such as Brecon Jazz Club becoming involved. Brecon Jazz 2016 may not feature the big international names that we’ve become accustomed to but something should happen, probably with more of a focus on local musicians. And as tonight’s two acts so capably demonstrated there is plenty of excellent local talent around.
ORGANIC ALBUM REVIEW
"An excellent debut album featuring tight writing and ensemble playing. If you are into Jimmy Smith and Rueben Wilson and Big John Patton you’ll love this CD – a nod to the past masters but based right in the present – go and buy it!"
Tony Brown, UK Jazz Radio
"An energetic outing, which whilst looking to the past is firmly based in the here and now, with some excellent ensemble playing and some beefy solos. Highly recommended"
Edge of Jazz Phonic.fm Exeter
"I have heard 4 tracks from the album and frankly I'm impressed .... If you are in the UK get out and see them. Here's a chance to be in at the start of something big"
Andy Hardy, UK Jazz Radio
REVIEW WITH THE BEN WAGHORN TRIO
Gascoyne Place, Bath (Sun 5 July)
• Halfway through this gig I’m struck by the uniqueness of the venue. Jazz often happens in restaurants, but Gascoyne Place’s posh nosh happens in a welcomingly casual place, with diners, drinkers and passers-by equally comfortable in sharing it. The band seem comfortable too, even drummer Gethin Jones whose kit is stripped to the minimum to fit in a tight corner - it never inhibits his smart and responsive playing. John Paul Gard’s full Hammond set-up gets the lion’s share of floor space and provides the grounding of the sound, grooving through standards with flair and wit, while Ben Waghorn slips between alto, tenor and baritone saxes as he adds Rollinsesque depth to the music. It’s a great set, a casual mainstream workout by three confidently accomplished players that never lacks for ideas and culminates in a funky flourish, Waghorn’s tenor suddenly unleashed in a final sprint, Gard’s feet dancing on the bass pedals and Jones’s snare rattling to a very satisfying close. (Tony Benjamin)
COME ON RITA REVIEW
John-Paul Gard Come on Rita Featuring JP Gard (Hammond organ), Kevin Glasgow (guitar), Gethin Jones (drums) LIKE big bands, organ trios are often spoken of in the past tense. Wrong again. This UK group is a fine example, varying pace, tempo and feeling in a selection of original tunes by Gard. J and Jimmy is presumably a tribute to Jimmy Smith, from whom the British organist has learned a lot. Its gradual build-up of excitement makes it a highlight. Tea 4 Joey has a relaxed, late-night feel, contrasting with the ebullience of Fast as Toast and John Meets Pat. The interplay between the three musicians shows a real rapport, and the leader leaves plenty of space for Kevin Glasgow's warm-hearted guitar solos. - Grainne Farren Independent i.e Grainne Farren
ANOTHER "COME ON RITA" REVIEW - LYNDON OWEN
Mention a Hammond trio in company and the gravitation towards the obvious references of the 1960s abound. Hardly surprising for such an iconic instrument but, with due respect, I suggest we get over it. My point being that the Hammond organ is a unique instrument, not just another keyboard, and as such, it demands a particular approach and the necessary commitment and skills to make it do the right stuff. Similarly any one playing with a Hammond needs to take up the mantle and make the space; something which this trio do sublimely.
So … what place has a Hammond trio in the 21st century? For the answer, listen to this CD, or better still catch the band live where any precepts of ‘I know what I like’ disappear in the first number.
From a technical aspect the level of chromatic substitutions from the keyboard is ever fluid and a real treat to solo over, be that Kevin’s pure toned, lyrical guitar or JohnPaul’s mellifluous right hand. However, the touchstone of the whole unit is the amazing bass lines, danced out by the unconscious yet precise left foot. Gethin’s approach to drumming shows the real power of an accomplished musician; often understated, always reliable, constantly moving. This is most immediate in ‘Waltz for Evan’ but evident throughout all the tracks. The guitar tone is clear and perfectly complements the thick timbres available from the keyboard; checkout the tongueincheek ‘faster than toast’ or the more bossa/lounge ‘t4joey’ to see what I mean. Both guitar and Hammond have a mature approach to their solos; well constructed with a controlled intensity and ever increasing gradient – what I mean in real terms of course is they get more exciting as they go along and its tremendous fun.
Being a Hammond trio the associations with earlier times must persist, and why not? Listen to ‘Come on Rita’ and if you don’t feel that you’re a bitpart actor dancing in a cellar bar in a 60’s Bmovie, there’s something wrong with your imagination. However, an iconic sound it may be but this is truly contemporary playing to which you are bound to both smile and move – I challenge you not to!