CD Review: The Nigel Price Organ Trio + Guests – Heads & Tales

The Nigel Price Organ Trio Plus Alex Garnett and Snowboy – Heads & Tales
(Woodville RecordsWVCD135. CD Review by Tony Heiberg)

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Hard swinging, bluesy, melodic, inventive and virtuostic are just some of the ways in which Nigel Price‘s world class guitar playing comes across. He also plays chords and harmonies exquisitely and, on the Heads section of his two-in-one CD release, and has written some catchy beboppish ‘heads’ or – melodies – to the casual listener, over the chord progressions of the standard tunes he plays on double tracked guitars on Tales, the second CD in this package.

This approach to composition is something of a jazz tradition. Heads opens with the wittily retitled It’s Not Alright With Me in which Price’s equally accomplished colleagues are all featured in turn. The recording is very well mixed. Organist Pete Whittaker‘s perfect bass lines lock in with drummer Matt Home‘s swinging and sensitive drumming throughout the recording, while Alex Garnett constructs melodically intriguing solos on both tenor and baritone saxes – as does Whittaker on the organ.

Along with Price’s originals, the band play their own arrangements of Wes Montgomery’s Four On Six and Lee Konitz’s challenging Subconcious-Lee with aplomb. Another highlight is Price’s Stealing Time, a Latin number based on the changes of Speak Low, which features a memorable head and an interesting section where Snowboy, on congas, swaps subtle eight bar phrases with Home’s drums. Heads closes with the swinging All In which features another strong head over the chords of Body And Soul and great improvisations by messrs Price, Whittaker, Home and Garnett.

I found the Tales CD every bit as enjoyable as solo and double-tracked guitar offerings by John Mclaughlin, Joe Pass, Pat Metheny and Martin Taylor. The opening track, If I Were A Bell, has a chorus featuring a strong harmony line from the two guitars. Price’s second guitar alternates a two-feel with chords and walking bass lines throughout the nine tracks. Indeed, the swing and Latin tunes are highly rhythmic toe-tappers and the ballads are coloured with harmonics and ad libitum sections with revoicings and passing chords. Then too, the virtuostic solos tell a melodious story which both swings and engages the mind.

With Heads & Tales the listener is the winner whichever way the coin lands. Heads & Tales is available from HMV, Amazon and Nigel Price’s website

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