Hart, Scone & Albin honor British female singers with organ-based jazz

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Jazz trio Hart, Scone & Albin have created a project that is perhaps overdue. With Adam Scone on Hammond organ, Rudy Albin on drums, and John Hart on guitar, the three tackle an ambitious project. Their album, “Leading the British Invasion” seeks to interpret popular songs by British female singers. Adele, Sade, Lorde, Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse and Dusty Springfield are represented on the tracks. The album is due for release Jan. 5, 2018.

“Rehab” as interpreted by Hart, Scone & Albin

Amy Winehouse’s stubborn hit about refusing to seek help for substance abuse is re-arranged and removed of its dark undertones. Mostly, the darkness isn’t there because this is an instrumental – – Winehouse’s vocal delivery and lyrical content in light of her death, had the potential to cast a shadow over the song. But without lyrics, and with an energetic Hammond organ to interpret the lyrical line, the song has a pep and verve of the 1960’s variety.

“Rehab” as done by Hart, Scone & Albin, has the lively organ and clattering drums feel reminiscent of “Green Onions.” The guitar work also seems to keep a hyperspeed pace just beneath the organ’s sound. The final drum beat that signifies the final “No” adds a bit of tension to the very end of the song.

“Smooth Operator”

Sade’s laid-back, 1984 hit gets a heavy organ treatment. Also, it is sped up. The words “smooth operator” can be heard in the organ’s rendition of the chorus. The original’s linguistic acrobatics are translated into guitar and organ interplay, and the phrasing is different.

At the beginning, the song is almost calypso-like in terms of feel. Then it broadens into bluesy, American jazz.  The song’s pace and arrangement make it a perfect theme song for a modern, Western Romeo.

“Rolling in the Deep”

Adele’s 2011 hit is essentially deconstructed. The emotional impact piled into the original via the vocals is now attributed to a dark guitar groove that orients listeners the way lyrics did in the original.

The song opens with a wah-wah, fuzzy guitar standing in for the lyrical line. The Hammond shimmers just beneath the surface. Then, the guitar loses its fuzzy effects for a couple of measures and just soars, like the singer’s voice on the original.

The drums follow a rock-oriented pattern and the song’s tension is taken up a bit. Not quite halfway through, the soundscape smooths out, and the wah-wah sound interacts with the organ notes that sound as though they are stacking higher and higher. Then, the guitar is showcased, and the song becomes more impressionistic, rather than a realistic rendering of the original. The ending sounds like a rock jam session. There is a great amount of tension until it is all released at the song’s end.

“Royals”

This is another song that Hart, Scone & Albin give a rock-oriented treatment. While the original might not have been my favorite pop song, the way it comes to life here, complete with a different rhythm, it is more accessible to audiences with certain musical sensibilities.

Because of the rock-orientation, the guitar shines here. Heavy chords chug and jangle, and the drums have a shimmer that help the drums and organ recall the original’s spirited chorus. The strength of the guitar line alone makes this song a favorite. It is a brilliant interpretation. The guitar work is so heavy at the end, that when mixed with the organ for just a few measures calls to mind Iron Butterfly.

Hart, Scone & Albin have accomplished what many musicians attempt when they play songs of different genres. They have played up elements, fuzzed out some aspects, and made a variety of well-known classics new, even those that weren’t that old.

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