Greg Skaff’s new release ’116th & Park’ due September 11
116th & Park is Kansas-born, but New York-based guitarist Greg Skaff’s third ZOHO organ trio CD release, following the successful, equally Manhattan-themed Ellington Boulevard (2004) and East Harlem Skyline (2009).
Laying down a fresh, tasty, funky and boppish menu of five Skaff originals, one swinging tune by drummer Ralph Peterson, Jr. and four carefully chosen cover songs by others (inlcuding Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk), Skaff develops the vintage sounds of the guitar, B3 Hammond organ, drums format into a distinctive, modern context.
With his blues-drenched sensibility, rhythmic assuredness, strong affinity for swing, bop and funk, and his capability of blowing at breakneck tempos with ease, Skaff fits neatly into that great lineage of stellar organ trio / guitarists Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Pat Martino and Grant Green.
Along with his current trio with drummer Ralph Peterson, Jr. and organist Pat Bianchi, Skaff sails through a collection of ballads, blues, burners and boogaloos with warm tone, pristine articulation, percussive attack and impressive chops. Others on the CD include Paul Nowinski (bass) and Mauro Refosco (percussion).
Sheila Elaine Anderson, author and on-air host at WBGO 88.3FM, states, “This recording is one of the most intriguing CDs I’ve heard in a long time. The organ trio is a small group setting where the musicians must improvise in order to fill the space of a larger ensemble. Greg Skaff not only understands this, he employs all that is necessary to have a big sound. Too often guitar players, in this configuration, depend on ‘guitar licks’ to execute the sound that can result in redundancy. Equipped with vast musical knowledge, his use of lush chords, fast articulation, virtuosity, and technique, Skaff avoids repetition.”
Anderson adds, “The trio is so flexible as they skillfully interpret songs, written by musicians not necessarily for their instruments, without sacrificing their own voices. Chock full of swing, rapid tempos and ballads, each song has its own story and path. This offering is not a typical guitar/organ CD filled with the ‘gut bucket blues,’ nor have the songs been often recorded, heard or overplayed. Skaff has chosen material that is not generally associated with guitarists. Of his original work he has also included his previously recorded beautiful ballad ‘Tropicalia,’ featuring Paul Nowinski, bass and Mauro Refosco on percussion.”
Individually and collectively Skaff, Bianchi and Peterson have been in the forefront of jazz. Bianchi, an in-demand organist, leads his own group and works with Lou Donaldson, Joey DeFrancesco and Pat Martino. Peterson and Skaff both spent time in Stanley Turrentine’s and Bobby Watson’s bands. Though it had been years since they had played together, the chemistry was still strong between them. Skaff therefore decided to reunite with Peterson, adding Bianchi to tour Italy as a trio. This release is a testament to what greatness comes out of a union of simpatico musicians who love and respect the art form and each other. This stellar release is also an example of what makes jazz music so creative and constantly evolving. With 116th & Park, Greg Skaff has taken the organ trio format to an impressive new level.
Greg Skaff Trio’s CD release event will be October 23, 2012 from 8:30-11:30 p.m. at the Bar Next Door, 129 MacDougal, New York, NY 10012. Skaff will be joined by Luques Curtis (bass) and E. J. Strickland (drums). For more info, call 212-529-5945.
Media inquiries should be directed to Jim Eigo at Jazz Promo Services (tel. 845-986-1677 or