Monday, June 1, 2015

Album Review: OJT- New Standards for the Green Lady

I’m entirely in favor of the concept of new jazz standards.

Not only do I race to the exit every time a band launches into “Kansas City,” I don’t ever need to hear “In a Mellow Tone,” “The Girl From Ipanema” or “Satin Doll” again.

The intentions of the organ trio of Ken Lovern, Brian Baggett and Kevin Frazee on the new OJT album New Standards for the Green Lady Lounge are commendable. 

The playing and arrangements of the de facto house band of the Green Lady Lounge are also excellent.  Unfortunately, I don’t care for much of their repertoire.

I’ve already heard Lennon-McCartney’s “Eleanor Rigby,” Clapton-Gordon’s “Layla” and Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” far too many times to embrace OJT’s interpretations of the songs as my new jazz standards.

Less familiar material including the Grateful Dead’s “West LA Fadeaway” and a pair of relatively obscure Steely Dan tracks, consequently, are more appealing.  The freshest cover is a version of Tears For Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”

I prefer contemporary compositions to the classic rock favored by OJT. 

Mark Lowrey’s interpretation of the Republic Tigers' ”Buildings and Mountains” is exquisite.  Robert Glasper’s rendition of Jhené Aiko's 2014 hit ”The Worst” is also astounding. 

Recent material by Alabama Shakes, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean and Charlie Wilson offers similar promise as potential new jazz standards.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)


Scott Fitness said...

Chained Lighting, Black Peter and OJT theme are my favorite tracks on OJT's album. Their next album will be all originals. I hope they put Brian Baggett's original composition Pickles on it. He wrote that for his then ex gf and future wife back when he was in high school. Always enjoy and appreciate your insight Plastic Sax. Thanks for doing it!

Anonymous said...

I hope your lukewarm review of the OJT CD doesn't discourage people from going to the Green Lady to support this great trio. Their live sets are much more adventurous than the CD. It's always a blast. I liked the line in Roger Atkinson's review of this CD (in a recent JAM magazine) where he mentions that hearing the OJT theme at the GL makes him want to grab another drink and stay for the next set. I can relate to that!