Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Listen to Samples
Wild Bill Davis "copycat" that really swings!
Terje Biringvad | Oslo, Norway | 07/09/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Clearance sale bins in record stores always offer surprises for $5 or less. This vintage CD cover photo caught my bin attention since, to me, the unknown organist Gerald (Gerry) Wiggins is sitting on Hammond B-3. So what to expect from Mr. Wiggins? The CD insert booklet tells an interesting story about a piano player known as a popular piano trio leader and a accompanist for singers like Lena Horne (touring with her from 1950-1951), Helen Humes, Ella Mae Morse, Eartha Kitt, Nat King Cole, Kay Starr, Lou Rawls, Ernie Andrews, Linda Hopkins, and Joe Williams, but recorded only two albums playing the Hammond B-3 organ exclusively. With an average knowledge about jazz organists, their keyboard style approach and favorite organ registrations, you would have guessed in a blindfold test that the great Wild Bill Davis were sitting in on the Hammond B-3 organ on this trio date from 1960. Everything played by Wiggins on this CD have parts of the Wild Bill Davis trademarks -full drawbar setting, full rotating leslie speaker, swell pedal variations, steady bass lines and, of course, a witty style with using fat block chords to make the "orchestra" sound spiced with airy single line arpeggios.
"Wiggin' Out" offers a six tune program with no ballads, featuring tenor saxophonist Harold Land and drummer Jackie Mills that give swinging support and leaves out plenty of space for organ solos. Two of the tunes, "Wiggin' Out" and "Yes, Dove", are written by Wiggins himself - first a straight swing and the latter an up-tempo blues where the interplay with Land works particularly well with strong accompany by Wiggins creeping chords and single line solos. The standard "Teach Me Tonight" will forever be connected to Jimmy McGriff, but Wiggins has made a memorable arrangement of the lovely tune serving strong and airy block solos and Land seems to be better off with his solos on the standards. One can't do much wrong with "Don't Get around Much Anymore" and "A Night In Tunisia" and the trios arrangement are mainstream and does not move mountains. The mambo lounge feeling in the last tune "Without A Song" only last for thirty seconds, before switching into up-tempo swing where Wiggins really displays his block chord capabilities after a delicate Land solo.
A jazz critic once made the statement that "a jazz pianist can't play the jazz organ and vice versa". Well, taken into consideration that most of the great jazz organists like Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff, Bill Doggett, Wild Bill Davis etc. started playing the piano and switched to organ later in their career, Wiggins must have sharpened his organ skills during the daytime when playing piano trios in the evenings. Wiggins is not an jazz organ innovator, but is well melted into the swing organ tradition. Recommended!