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B-3 Sunday At Dizzy's

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"This is going to be great, watch--you'll see, we have a special hook-up," said trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos speaking of his Hammond B-3 Quartet, featuring LA 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, adding, "...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.

The frontline pairing of the trumpet and tenor man Levy lent a decidedly "vintage" Blue Note Records vibe to the concert, which was made clear on the 10 minute opener, "Inception," by piano great McCoy Tyner. Castellanos' solo was loaded with measured ideas and subtle tonal manipulations, achieved with half-valving and smeared glissandos.

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.

Bagg is the transformative element here, though. From the beginning of his first solo, where he punctuated an idea with tension-raising clusters, it was obvious that dissonance was a color he reaches for, rather than avoids. In support of the horns, his left hand whips out relentless strands of walking bass lines, while his right hand chords are voiced in a way that facilitates multiple options.

The trumpeter offered to "slow things way down," and did so with a languid reading of "Autumn In New York," but when he deferred to Bagg, the ballad morphed into "My Foolish Heart," which became "Easy To Remember" when Levy took over. Three ballads for the price of one.

Duncan Moore was in top form all evening-- his ride cymbal support influencing all of the dialogue into deeper conversation, and, at the end, he took a solo so complete--it sounded like the highlights of 10 drum clinics rolled into one.

photo courtesy Joe Bagg

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"This is going to be great, watch--you'll see, we have a special hook-up," said trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos speaking of his Hammond B-3 Quartet, featuring LA 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, adding, "...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.

The frontline pairing of the trumpet and tenor man Levy lent a decidedly "vintage" Blue Note Records vibe to the concert, which was made clear on the 10 minute opener, "Inception," by piano great McCoy Tyner. Castellanos' solo was loaded with measured ideas and subtle tonal manipulations, achieved with half-valving and smeared glissandos.

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.

Bagg is the transformative element here, though. From the beginning of his first solo, where he punctuated an idea with tension-raising clusters, it was obvious that dissonance was a color he reaches for, rather than avoids. In support of the horns, his left hand whips out relentless strands of walking bass lines, while his right hand chords are voiced in a way that facilitates multiple options.

The trumpeter offered to "slow things way down," and did so with a languid reading of "Autumn In New York," but when he deferred to Bagg, the ballad morphed into "My Foolish Heart," which became "Easy To Remember" when Levy took over. Three ballads for the price of one.

Duncan Moore was in top form all evening-- his ride cymbal support influencing all of the dialogue into deeper conversation, and, at the end, he took a solo so complete--it sounded like the highlights of 10 drum clinics rolled into one.

photo courtesy Joe Bagg

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