So tonight I went for a run, the first time I’ve run on back to back days in, well, I don’t even remember the last time ! Anyway the soundtrack for the run was Blakey Grease from guitarist JC Stylles. The reason that I chose the album is that this afternoon I was working on the list of the top jazz albums that I’ve listened to so far this year and I knew that this one had to be on that list and I hadn’t written about it yet!! The album is actually a first, it is the first time that the songs of Art Blakey have been recorded by a guitar-organ trio, and in my opinion they sound pretty damn good that way!! Here’s some background on JC…..From Wikipedia..
JC Stylles is the performing name of jazz guitarist Jason Campbell (he took the name to avoid confusion with Jason Campbell of the NFL), an Australian based in New York City since 2005 (as well as from 1992 to the mid-1990s). He studied under John Scofield, Steve Erquiaga, Miroslav Vitous, Woody Shaw, Johnny Griffin, Pat Martino, Tal Farlow, Rodney Jones, John Abercombie, and Barry Harris, and others. He typically plays in the organ trio format, with such organists as Jimmy McGriff, Dr Lonnie Smith, Tony Monaco, Joey DeFrancesco, Pat Bianchi, Seleno Clarke, Jimmy “Preacher” Robbins, Melvin Davis, Nathan Lucas, Akiko Tsuruga, and others.
Ok so Mr. Stylles has;learned from some pretty good guitarist and played with some pretty fine organists, no wonder he’s damn good.Not bad for a guy who, according to his biography at his website…..
….first touched a guitar around 7 years of age, and was introduced to the world of jazz in the most unlikely of places, that being in the rainforests of Kuranda, a tiny, predominantly aboriginal town in the tropics of Far North Queensland Australia, via his stepfathers jazz record collection – Full Biography
I’d say he learned his lessons well!! Blakey Grease was produced by Grammy winning producer Jack Kreisberg. Kreisberg also produced Stylles 2011 release Exhilaration & Other States. On Blakey Grease Stylles is joined by Kyle Kohler on Organ, Lawrence Leathers on Drums, Troy Roberts on Tenor Sax, & David Lee Jones on Alto Sax. I particularly liked the playing of Mr. Kohler on organ, big surprise there!! Here’s what some others are saying about JC….
“Stylles comes out of the gate blazing with the mighty facility akin to a George Benson or Pat Martino…this group means serious jazz business…head boppin’, finger-snappin’ swing, grounded in the blues, grits-and-gravy grooves. The result is joy and happiness.”-Greg Thomas/NY DailyNews
“Guitarist J.C. Stylles is helping to keep alive a venerable jazz tradition… the organ trio… there is lots of exhilaration here… Stylles is a fine ballad player, but he plainly lives for uptempo burners,… There is not a single weak track on this very impressive album!”– Rick Anderson-All Music Review
So double kudos for JC Stylles for producing a great album and doing his best to keep that guitar organ trio thing gong!! So check him out and as for me I know I’m going to check out some of his back catalog!!! Here’s JC Stylles with “Knucklebean” from 2011’s Exhilaration & Other States……(yes I need to check that one out!)