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The New Cool: A pair of Hammond organ grinders heat up Seattle next week

Joe Doria
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The sounds of summer - organ, guitar, drums. Two great organ trios take Seattle stages next week.

One of the sounds of jazz that seems most connected to summertime is that of the Hammond B3 organ. You can almost smell barbecue when the music gets "greasy," and two of the Northwest's favorite organ trios are cooking up live action next week.

Fans of the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio (DLO3) waited five years for the follow up to their acclaimed debut Close But No Cigar, and I Told You So was well worth the wait. Tuesday and Wednesday nights, the DLO3 welcomes the Jazz Alley audience into their deep pockets of groove. As of this writing, Tuesday night's show is sold out.

Co-founder of The True Loves, the soul-funk group recently seen headlining ZooTunes, Jimmy James has been enjoying a busy year. His incredibly tasty guitar work on the new DLO3 album continues to build on his reputation as the coolest guitarist in the world. Vintage '60s echo effects have rarely sounded so modern.

Lamarr's chops on organ continue to impress as well. He's sensitive and sweet on a terrific cover of the Wham! hit "Careless Whisper," and burns it up on "Fo Sho," rising from a simmer to a boil. Lamarr can lean into a chord a la Jimmy Smith, but his melodicism and lovable personality shine through every note.

Hammond organ lovers can get a double dose Wednesday night, as Joe Doria's McTuff returns to Fremont's Nectar Lounge for two sets that night. Be sure to stay late: McTuff is promising special guest appearances from members of the Polyrhythmics after their ZooTunes concert that night.

McTuff's extensive reign as Seattle's top organ trio began with guitarist Andy Coe, drummer D'Vonne Lewis and often featured Skerik on saxophone. That O.G. McTuff still takes the stage on occaision, but this Nectar performance presents V.3 -- Cole Schuster on guitar with drummer Ehssan Karimi.

The trio is named for organ legend Jack McDuff, and their roots are firmly in the soul-jazz tradition. But Doria's diverse musical interests have always kept this organ trio unique. Doria, Schuster and Karimi are three-fifths of soulful roots-rock singer Nick Drummond's band, and appear on Drummond's recent release Eye of the Storm. You could say McTuff V.3 has a bit more rock in their pockets.

While each of these three musicians keep themselves busy with multiple ensembles, fans like me hold out hope for a new McTuff album. Their third, The Root, was released more than six years ago.

Listen for both McTuff and the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio on the New Cool Friday night, and if you can get out to see either group in person next week, bring proof of your COVID-19 vaccination. The current pandemic situation is serious, but we need to support musicians and venues. Let's do it smartly.

The New Cool airs Fridays at 8 p.m., hosted by Abe Beeson and produced by KNKX Public Radio in Seattle, Wash.

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