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Music Review: Landsberger and Morello – Hammond Eggs

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Puns are great but the music on Hammond Eggs is no joke. There is a nice slice of irony to accompany the main course.  Pianist/organist Jermaine Landsberger (initially inspired by Django Reinhardt) does a role reversal here.  He comes from a Sinti (gypsy) family yet has moved into modern jazz.  Then, in yet another turn of events, he and Paulo Morello, his long time collaborator, dedicate the album to Kosta Lukacs — a highly respected guitarist of German gypsy descent.

Landsberger has worked with Morello since the 1990s in Bavaria.  Doing an album together has been a ten year dream that has now come to fruition.  Morello is considered one of Germany’s top jazz guitarists and has an interest in Brazilian music and rhythms. His sound reminds me of Lee Ritenour and Pat Martino.  For this project, the duo enlisted the services of saxophonist, Peter Weniger, and drummer Dejan Terzic. Terzic lists James Moody among those with whom he has worked.  Weniger worked with Eddie Palmieri and between the four of them, they’ve got quite an international resume.

Photo courtesy Hammond Eggs

Morello and Landsberger have written five of the ten tracks and include two compositions by their honoree, Lukacs, with “Latin Movin’” and “Song For My Little Daughter”.  Lukacs was a Hungarian guitarist who died in 1992.  Paulo says of him, “He was a wonderful gypsy musician whose work, sadly, was never recorded.”  Morello met Lukacs through a mutual friend and immediately fell in love with his music.  “Latin Movin’” is the vehicle for significant organ, guitar, and saxophone solos with solid support from Terzic’s percussion.

I took piano lessons up until the fourth grade and have continued to play sporadically ever since.  Until I saw the video clip of Landsberger’s fingers on the keyboard, I had no idea you could move your fingers so quickly and accurately.  I bet he can type a thousand words a minute!  This guy is amazing!  Not only is he an accomplished organist, but he is a master at using the Hammond B3 to it’s fullest potential.  A talented musician and an impressive, complicated instrument.

My favorite track is the finale, “Batida Diferente” (different beat), although the title track is a close second. All four members of the group seize this last track as their last opportunity to make a statement with great solos and clever improvisations. Listen for Landsberger’s wink to “Laura” in his organ solo.

Would I buy Hammond Eggs? Yes, even as much as I like pancakes! (Street date is Sept. 14, 2010 from In and Out Records)  

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