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Sixteen(16)-year-old jazz organ prodigy, Kevin Coelho explodes onto the scene with Funkengruven' - Kevin started piano study at age six(6). He started his jazz and organ studies at age eleven(11)...he's now sixteen(16) and starting to 'tear it up'. ...with jazz teachers that have included Randy Masters, Wil Blades and Tony Monaco (producer) - as well as master classes with Bennet Pastor, Larry Goldings, Taylor Eigsti, Joshua Redman, Ndugu Chancler, and Tooty and Jimmy Heath, this kid' has really learned to PLAY; needless to say, this teenager 'aint' your normal teenager! With performances at the Eastman School of Music Summer Jazz Program, the Stanford Jazz Workshop, and the Stanford Jazz Residency and his multiple wins of the Shape of Jazz to Come' award at the Stanford Jazz Workshop, Kevin is on his way to a bright future!...This recording, produced by Tony Monaco, hints of that quite strongly! Get it! TRACK LISTING: 1. Funkergruven(5:32) 2. Cantiloupe Island(5:21) 3. Take a Stand(6:26) 4. Chagalu(4:26) 5. Dock of the Bay(7:22) 6. McJimmy(6:56) 7. Donna Lee(6:56) 8. Tangerine(7:41) 9. Play It Back(9:09) 10. What's New(8:37)
Top customer reviews
created a media buzz on the jazz scene when he released his critically praised
debut album, and drawing comparisons to Joey DeFrancesco’s rise to fame at
the end of the 1980’s Kevin Coelho have made his mark as one of the up-and-
coming jazz organists to achieve success by the beginning of the 21st Century.
Funkengruven- The Art Of Driving The B-3 is a robust and stunning trio album
that puts a superlative new spin on the organ-guitar-drum repertoire which this
Hammond B-3 organ-based legacy got another refreshing permanent lease on
life. Starting off with the electrifying title track, the ebullient track set concludes
with great vigor on a set of original compositions such as Chagalu, Play It Back
and McJimmy (his slick ode to Jimmy McGriff), as well as superb reinditions of
classic standards such as Herbie Hancock’s Cantaloupe Island, Take A Stand,
the Otis Redding classic Dock Of The Bay, Charlie Parker’s Donna Lee as well
as What’s New? What is so great about Funkengruven-The Art Of Driving The
B-3 is that Coehlo is able to deftly tackle a piece as intelligently as Donna Lee,
where his trio endows the landmark bebop classic with a funky aura, while res-
pecting it’s timeless originality, and can demonstrate a common touch with pop
classics or his original material, which makes him destined for a great career.
I have to admit that I was skeptical. Jazz Organ was the instrument that first hooked me into being a jazz fan when I was very young. It started with my mothers love of Ray Charles. Along side of being great piano player, Brother Ray on occasion played the organ and it was on one of mom's Ray Charles albums way back in the early 60s that I first heard the organ in pop music. The tune was "Chitlins and Candied Yams" , an instrumental.
From there I searched out jazz organ - first Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff and others. Then I started noticing the instrument in rock `n' roll, especially Booker T, Stevie Winwood with The Spenser Davis Group, Alan Price with The Animals. Eventually, I was to learn that the Hammond B3 Organ was to organs what champagne was to wine. The best of the best, the Steinway of the organ class.
When I first heard tell of Kevin Coelho and he was being expounded as the new genius of the B3, I admit, my attitude was a bit "show me". So, I asked Jon of Braithwaite & Katz, the great jazz PR group that rarely steers me wrong, to send it along.
First thing I did when the CD arrived, naturally, was to peruse the track list. The kid's ambitious, I thought to myself and may have even mentioned to the cat, Goo Goo Barabajangle, who's an especially hard jazz critic, being a finicky Persian; Otis Redding's "Dock of the Bay" and Herbie Hancock's soul-jazz smash "Cantaloupe Island.", Dr. Lonnie Smith's "Play It Back", the Miles Davis bop classic "Donna Lee". These are the Organ jazz Mecca tunes. Then, I looked for the supporting players. You need some strong cats to ride with Organ jazz. And he got `em; Tony Monaco, who not only helmed the sessions but also lent Coelho the players from his hot touring trio: guitarist Derek DiCenzo and drummer Reggie Jackson. Okay, he should b at least passable with these experienced organ trio cats on the session.
So, I put it on. I was intrigued by the first track which also lends its name to the CD. "Funkengruven" is just that, a funky groove tune and an original composition. His left hand bass is very impressive. Coelho describes his "Funkengruven" title tune as "a riff blues over a set of non-standard changes, something that's funky and grooving but also swings. Those are tricky things to reconcile, funk and swing, not a lot of players can do it.
Next up was Herbie Hancock's masterpiece "Cantaloupe Island". Turns out that Coelho is a classically trained pianist and really studied this piece. He turns it into a funk tune by changing the beat and putting a James Brown bass lines underneath , then did some arranging on the chords at the end, and voilà, he has managed to make the tune his own. I was more than impressed.
"Dock Of The bay' is faithfully rendered as smooth, mellow R&B and shows Coelho's ability to not just swing some funky jazz, but to tackle a soulful pop tune. He gets some great help on the guitar from DiCenzo throughout and Reggie Jackson can drive the beat with the best of them. Jackson's trips around the skins in the title track are so damn smooth, you have to wonder how he did it. Jackson is "a human metronome, his time beyond solid," says Coelho. He's intense to and takes the music to the highest possible energy level.
"It's all about soul and energy"
There are a couple of tracks included that are written by Randy Masters who may not be a household name, even among jazz players, but he is one of the finest trumpeter-composer and theoretician's out there. He's also Coelho's prime teacher. The two compositions are "Take A Stand", a bluesy slow tune that'll make you want to take your partner across the floor. Then there is the hidden gem of the album, another Master's composition, "Chagalu", it's a Latin jazz tune that allows Coelho to further show off that he is no one trick pony. It's got a hook and is so catchy, it'll be right at home on the radio. I can see this one taking off on not just the jazz stations but crossing over to other formats. "Randy is an incredible composer - his pieces are deeply musical and playable, with wonderful lines," Coelho says.
Coelho's own "McJimmy" is another song that lets the young organist explore yet one more subgenre of the organ jazz arena. It's a homage to the uplifting gospel sound of B3 idol Jimmy McGriff.
One of my absolute favorites is Dr. Lonnie Smith's "Play It Back" which really allows Coelho to stretch out and display his virtuoso talents both hands are amazing in his dexterity and touch. Then, too, he displays his "old soul", digs way into the pocket, where the B3 really shines at creating tension in all the right spots and allow the tune to just drip in soul.
"...the dynamics of the B3 coupled with the soul and energy of a razor sharp trio..."
Kevin Coelho is the sort of teenage phenom that the Hammond B3 organ hasn't seen in decades. He has already studied an enormous amount and has a great grasp of what and how he wants to play. His arrangements are ingeniously funky, deeply soulful, swing in all the sweet spots and make you forget, continuously that you are listening to a kid that is barely old enough to drive, but drive the B3 with the best of them.
Kevin is poised to be the B3 master of his generation. He's got the talent. he's got the vision and he's got the right `guru's'. "I'm still developing my own sound, of course. I'm concentrating on trying to re-create in my own way the soul and energy of those old records I love", Coelho says.
Along with Randy Masters and Tony Monaco, his jazz teachers include noted Bay Area Hammond B3 player Wil Blades. The young musician has also had master classes with Larry Goldings and Bennett Paster, among others. In 2010, Coelho attended and performed at the Eastman School of Music Summer Jazz program as a rare freshman to be admitted. He has participated in and performed at the Stanford Jazz Workshop for the past five years, winning the Outstanding Soloist award multiple times as well as being honored with the prestigious Shape of Jazz to Come award. With his group The Groove Messengers, Coelho performed at the 2011 San Jose Jazz Festival, and he also played the 2011 Stanford Jazz Festival, as well as at clubs and corporate events across the country in groups with such professional musicians as Charles McCarthy, Akira Tana, Jason Lewis, James Witzel, Ray Scott and Rob Gibson, among others. Coelho attends Los Altos High School in California, where he is a straight-A student.
Well, this skeptic is ready to give him a gold star, and I'll even let him drive the car.
The Dirty Lowdown