Organic sounds from Brian Ho

I’ve been enjoying local organist Brian Ho’s new album, Organic, since I got ‘hold of it at the CD release party last week.

The show, at the Fairmont Hotel’s lobby lounge, was standing room only. Of course Ho showed off his chops on his signature Hammond organ, but every player got a solo turn and every instrument got a workout. Guitarist Calvin Keys probably has the most polished sound in the band, but drummer Lorca Hart and saxophonist Oscar Pangilinan also could blaze out a solo or join with the band in a smooth groove.

The album itself has much of the same material as the live performance. Most of the tunes are up-tempo, and organ solos are well-balanced by showpieces for the other instruments. The material shows off the organ’s ability to switch seamlessly from buzzing along in a background bass line to taking the center stage and carrying the main melody.

Of the original compositions on the record, I think “Reversi” and “Beat Street” are the strongest. “Beat Street” has a jumpy syncopated rhythm that will get you bopping. “Reversi” starts out slower, but quickly builds up a tempo and a groove that could go on all night. Of the cover material, I really enjoy the arrangement of Horace Silver’s “Song for my Father”, where all four instruments blend into a seamless whole with a sweet sound.

Organic is available from iTunes, Amazon, and CDBaby.

Photo courtesy of Brian Ho

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