Trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos co-founded the Hammond B-3 Quartet with L.A. organ master Joe Bagg, tenor saxophonist Brian Levy, and drummer Duncan Moore.
The B-3 organ has a storied tradition in jazz, and of that story, Bagg is becoming a chapter unto himself. His lineage can be drawn from the iconic Larry Young, who redefined the role of the instrument to reflect the influence of John Coltrane’s music in the 1960s.
Bagg and Castellanos have been collaborating for years, “I used to come down, literally three or four times a week, for gigs with Gilbert in San Diego,” says Bagg. “Of course, that was when gas was $2 a gallon, and I would sleep on his floor.”
This quartet offers a rare opportunity to hear Castellanos operate in a decidedly different context. The organ, especially the way Bagg uses it, opens up the harmonic landscape in a way that allows for more space in the trumpeter's improvisations.
Levy has an obvious affection for early Coltrane. In his approach, he attacks the chord changes with some of the same contours, and he also can evoke greats like Joe Henderson with his tone and legato phrasing.