Album Review: The Radam Schwartz Organ Big Band — Message from Groove and GW
Situating a Hammond organ out in front of a big band is a splendid idea; the verve and energy of the keys plays off well against the muscular, thrilling backdrop of a massive instrumental aggregation. Organist Radam Schwartz plays that organ, and writes most of the tunes on Message from Groove and GW.
Using an assortment of arrangers, Schwartz also makes a point of selecting some superb (and not overplayed) cover material. The Isley Brothers’ “Between the Sheets,” John Coltrane’s “Blues Minor” and “Work Song” (the Mingus one, not the Nat Adderley tune) all get the Schwartz treatment.
Four trumpets, five saxophonist, two trombone players, a guitarist and drummer make up Schwatz’s outfit. The drummer, David F. Gibson, gets a bold-type name check on the album cover, but it’s all-in for every one of these fine players. Things swing, they get bluesy and sometimes (as on the closing “Von Gott”) they even get meditative. All in all, this is a nicely varied set that shows off the skills of bandleader and band alike.
About the Author
With a background in marketing and advertising, Bill Kopp got his professional start writing for Trouser Press. After a stint as Editor-in-chief for a national music magazine, Bill launched Musoscribe in 2009, and has published new content every business day since then (and every single day since 2018). The 4000-plus interviews, essays, and reviews on Musoscribe reflect Bill's keen interest in American musical forms, most notably rock, jazz, and soul. His work features a special emphasis on reissues and vinyl. Bill's work also appears in many other outlets both online and in print. He regularly hosts lecture/discussions on artists and albums of historical importance (including monthly events Music to Your Ears and Music Movie Mondays), and is a frequent guest on music-focused radio programs and podcasts. In Spring 2023 he is co-teaching a history of Rock 'n' Roll at UNC Asheville's College for Seniors. He also researches and authors liner notes for album reissues -- more than 30 to date -- and co-produced a reissue of jazz legend Julian "Cannonball" Adderley's final album. His first book, Reinventing Pink Floyd: From Syd Barrett to The Dark Side of the Moon was published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2018, and in paperback in 2019. His second book, Disturbing the Peace: 415 Records and the Rise of New Wave, was published in 2021 by HoZac Books. His third book, What's the Big Idea: 40 Great Concept Albums will be published in 2024. Read even more about him here.