King Louie Organ Trio | It's About Time

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Jazz: Hammond Organ Blues: Soul-Blues Moods: Featuring Saxophone
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It's About Time

by King Louie Organ Trio

Soulful, spontaneous soul-jazz instrumentals by NW legends Louis "King Louie" Pain, Renato Caranto, & Edwin Coleman III, plus special guests Bruce Conte (Tower of Power), Mel Brown (The Temptations), and Dan Faehnle (Pink Martini)!
Genre: Jazz: Hammond Organ
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Frances J
3:58 $0.99
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2. Brulie
4:39 $0.99
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3. Two Leons in New Orleans
3:57 $0.99
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4. Bry-Yen / I Believe in You
3:26 $0.99
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5. Teener
5:49 $0.99
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6. Big Brothers
4:55 $0.99
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7. Island Girl
4:03 $0.99
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8. Chester McGriff
3:41 $0.99
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9. Marty Boy
5:33 $0.99
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10. Mel Brown
4:18 $0.99
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11. Blues for Merle
6:20 $0.99
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12. Lupus Tylericus
7:02 $0.99
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13. Blues for Pierre
5:20 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
“B-3 specialist Louis Pain, tenor saxophonist Renato Caranto and drummer Edwin Coleman III appear bent on fulfilling some kind of mission. They’re out to prove that their blues grooves are the result of authentic feeling and a matured discipline in improvisational spontaneity. These exceptional Northwest musicians, performing mostly Pain compositions, enjoy a special rapport—in fact, Pain and Caranto have worked together in clubs for two decades. Ex-Tower of Power guitarist Bruce Conte supplies additional sparks of artistic invention on six of the eight 'trio' tracks. Another five cuts of more jazz-oriented music, making up the last third of the album, place Pain and Caranto with guitarist Dan Faehnle and well-respected drummer Mel Brown; there’s no dip in quality.” (4-star review) —Frank John-Hadley, Downbeat

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“A hefty slice of the blues, soul-jazz and groove best describes the King Louie Organ Trio. It's a contemporary jazz sound while clearly harking back to the golden era of soul-jazz . . . If you're into the B-3 sound, this is a pretty greasy place to start! . . . Whole eras being re-explored, tributes galore, and just some mighty fine playing. No one individual here is the star and yet they are all capable of star-turns. It’s the magic of a great trio at work.” —Emrys Baird, Blues & Soul, Issue 1092 [UK]

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"King Louie strokes his keys like a lover one moment, then attacks that B-3 like a barracuda the next. His trio is second to none and the new album is an amazing trip through the musical minds of inspirational musicians doing what they do best...exposing their soul with each and every note." --Steve Pringle / Sunday Night Blues Room, KGON Portland

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Contemporary jazz fans will know that "King" Louie Pain' is a modern Hammond B-3 maestro- keeping alive the spirit of Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Brother Jack McDuff et al. ...However, he's never released an album in the classic trio style – till now – hence the title 'It's About Time'...Guests and core players have a wealth of experience and totally understand the genre. Result – authentic soul-jazz. —William Buckley, Soul and Jazz and Funk (UK)

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"This all-instrumental album crosses genres, mixing jazz, blues, and soul, and is definitely a keeper. Filled with contagious riffs that are heavy with groove and swing, it delivers a complete knock-out punch…This trio has got the goods. Great tunes to be found here." —Greg Johnson, Blues Notes

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“’It's About Time’ presents Louis Pain right where he belongs -- at the intersection of jazz, blues and R&B, playing brilliant originals with his King Louie Organ Trio augmented by masterful guests Bruce Conte, Dan Faehnle and Mel Brown." —Lynn Darroch, author, performer, radio host.

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Oregon Arts Watch
John Foyston   
April 02, 2019

"It’s King Louie Time"
Blues organist Louis Pain and his trio are releasing a new CD of original songs, "It's About Time," this week. It's been worth the wait.


The insert for the King Louie Organ Trio’s new CD, “It’s About Time,” looks like a photo album of friends and family.

Fittingly so. Friends, mentors and family inspired Northwest blues stalwart Louis Pain’s album, as it says on the cover, and they’re name-checked in songs such as “Frances J,” which opens the album and honors his late mother, the feminist poet Frances Jaffer, who was also Pain’s first and biggest booster, signing him up for organ lessons when he was 16.


It continues with “Brulie,” the childhood nickname for former Tower of Power guitarist and longtime friend Bruce Conte, whose wonderfully economical and to-the-point guitar style adorns six tracks. (Conte recorded his parts over the tracks in a studio in the Philippines with an engineer he works with there, and the tracks were e-mailed back to Jim Hage, the CD’s co-producer as well as engineer, at Portland’s Long Play Recording. They are among the very few overdubs on this aggressively analog recording, which was recorded live and direct to analog tape in Hage’s studio.)



Pain’s wife, Tracy Pain, is the inspiration for “Island Girl,” of which Pain says with a straight face, “If you think you recognize the melody, you’re mistaken” – after which the song opens with a brief but direct quote from the “Hawaii Five-0” theme. There are songs for grown kids and grandkids, such as the gorgeous, churchy “Bry-Yen: I Believe in You” and “Lupus Tylericus.” “Big Brothers” is exactly that, about Pain’s brothers; and “Blues for Pierre” is inspired by his stepbrother, Peter. There’s even a song for “Marty Boy,” the Pains’s friendly seven-toed silver tabby, whom they call their miracle cat after he was run over and found near death with a broken pelvis, yet recovered to walk, jump and purr again … and occasionally wreak havoc on the bookshelves of Chez Pain, which are chocablock with all manner of feline tchotchkes. “I just thought of the way he walks now when I was writing the song,” said Pain about the tune’s funky sashay.


Pain has deep blues roots, but at his core, he’s an organ nerd who loves gospel, jazz, funk and the Hammond B-3 masters such as Chester Thompson, Jimmy McGriff (which is why there’s a tune on the CD called “Chester McGriff”)  Richard “Groove” Holmes and all the rest who’ve mastered the mighty Hammond organ.


The CD has two release parties coming up: April 8 at Lake Theatre & Cafe in Lake Oswego, and April 10 at the Jack London Revue in downtown Portland. The recording is a landmark in Pain’s long career, which includes a decade in the Paul deLay Band and work with artists such as the No deLay Band, Linda Hornbuckle, Sweet Baby James, LaRhonda Steele, and the Mel Brown B-3 Organ Group, to name just a few. “It’s About Time” is his first collection of original songs – a baker’s dozen of concise instrumentals, most of ’em written by Pain.


“I started writing all these instrumentals,” Pain said as we talked in his poster-bedecked practice space at his home in Washougal, Wash. “Next thing I knew, I had 11 of them.” He credits a YouTube video of a Seattle organ trio with inspiring him: “I liked the group a lot, including the simple, catchy originals that they jam on, and thought, ‘I could do that!’ – I had written a few instrumentals over the years, but mainly swinging blues heads. Most of the new tunes were built on funky, danceable grooves.”


The CD includes a song each from the other band members – “Two Leons in New Orleans” from drummer Edwin Coleman III, and “Blues for Merle” by saxman Renato Caranto (who, as a mark of his versatility and virtuosity, has toured with musicians ranging from Esmerelda Spalding to Merle Haggard, for whom his tune is named). When it was all done, they had enough for essentially two albums: The trio and Conte recorded the first eight tunes, then Pain enlisted former Motown staff drummer Mel Brown and the impeccably bluesy, jazzy guitarist Dan Faehnle to join him and Caranto for the final five.


“I definitely wanted Edwin’s and Renato’s songs on the CD,” Pain said. “Our trio is not an organ player and a couple of sidemen. Nothing could be further from the truth. Renato and Edwin are both unbelievably creative and exciting musicians. The group is very spontaneous; most of our ‘arrangements’ are improvised on the spot. We are continually bouncing ideas off each other – and laughing at how the songs morph in unexpected directions each time we play them. In every respect, we are a band.”


The CD’s relative length ensures an admirable brevity on the individual songs: Solos are concise and pertinent, and the music bubbles along with no dawdling, no filler. The longest, “Lupus Tylericus” (named in honor of Pain’s wolf-loving grandson Tyler and Caranto’s high-register, dog-whistle-range tenor solo), is just a tad over seven minutes long. “Short songs actually suit me,” says Pain, who also plays foot-pedal bass on all songs. “Live, we sometimes stretch a bit, but I have a short attention span, so long solos and reprising the song after the solos seem boring to me, and probably to the audience as well – I’m like, ‘Hey, we have plenty of songs: let’s move along to the next one.’ ”


The CD was made possible in part thanks to some serious serendipity, not least of which was a great deal by Hage for recording time at his new studio. “Thirteen songs is a lot,” Pain said, “but I thought, ‘let’s record them all because we don’t know when we’re going to get the chance to do this again.”


He didn’t know how right he was. In late March he started feeling some serious heartburn and queasiness mid-song at a King Louie and LaRhonda Steele gig at a Pearl District restaurant. Tracy Pain persuaded him to go to the hospital and drove him to Peace Health in Vancouver, where he was diagnosed with a complete blockage of one coronary artery– the one doctors call the widowmaker, which hints at its lethality. Doctors placed a couple of stents and kept him for 72 hours, after which Pain went home looking little the worse for wear, though while we were talking he did ask for my help in rolling a dolly-mounted Hammond B-3 organ – about a quarter-ton of oak, walnut, vacuum tubes, and electronics – flush against the wall of his practice room.


He’s obviously thinking about a future when schlepping a vintage Hammond organ is a no-go. He’s already playing a Swedish-made electronic Hammond clone, a Nord C2D, which he says is virtually indistinguishable from the tone-wheels-and-drawbars sound of a real B-3. Better yet, it weighs 34 pounds instead of several hundred. But the pedal board for his bass parts is more resistant to easy portabilty, as is his Leslie speaker cabinet, which is a walnut cube about the size of a heat pump. Its rotating speakers accelerate and slow on command to create a rich tremolo, a dense, dimensional wash of phase shifts and Doppler effects that combine with a Hammond to create a match made in heaven, Pain says. Trouble is, that staunchly analog assemblage has proven stubbornly resistant to digitization.


He’ll figure it out. Pain is too much of a musician to quit. After all, when he started feeling queasy and flushed at that gig in late March, when he suspected he might in fact be having a heart attack, he points out with quiet pride: “I did finish the song.”


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From the CD Liner Notes:

The members of Portland, Oregon’s King Louie Organ Trio are primarily known as outstanding sidemen—experts in the under-appreciated art of making other artists sound their best. Organist Louis Pain is in the Oregon Music Hall of Fame, but in the “Side Person” category. Likewise, saxophonist Renato Caranto is best known for his sideman duties with Merle Haggard, Esperanza Spalding & Mel Brown, and drummer Edwin Coleman III for laying down solid grooves with Soul Vaccination and the Thunder Brothers. As a unit, Louis, Renato, and Edwin accompanied soulful vocalist LaRhonda Steele on a pair of CDs honored by Downbeat as among the “Best Albums of the Year” for 2017 and 2018.

But on this long-awaited CD featuring their original instrumentals, the three good friends show what they can do on their own, and it’s unique and exciting. With the help of special guest guitarists Bruce Conte (Tower of Power) and Dan Faehnle (Diana Krall, Pink Martini), plus Portland drum legend Mel Brown (The Temptations, Diana Ross, etc.), the King Louie Organ Trio tells musical stories filled with soul, spontaneity, and fun. They do so in a style that seamlessly combines blues, jazz, soul, and gospel. And the excitement is all captured on this edit-free CD!

The songs (eleven by Louis and one each by Renato and Edwin)—are all named after and inspired by important people in the writers’ lives. “Frances J” is Frances Jaffer, Louis' late mother—a revered feminist poet who was his biggest early supporter. The “Big Brothers” in question are Louis’ siblings Lincoln & Duncan Pain, and “Pierre” is Louis’ stepbrother Peter Linenthal. “Island Girl” is named after Louis’ biggest current supporter: his Hawaiian-born wife & manager Tracy Turner-Pain. “Teener” is SF Bay Area music photographer & blogger Tina Abbaszadeh, and “Marty Boy” is Louis & Tracy’s remarkably friendly 7-toed feline.

“Bry-Yen” is named after Louis’ stepchildren, Bryan and Jennifer (as a child, Bryan pronounced his big sister’s name as “Yen”). “Lupus Tylericus”—featuring Renato high notes that approach the canine hearing range—is named for Jennifer’s wolf-loving son Tyler. “Mel Brown” is Louis and Renato’s Thursday night bandleader of the past 23 years. “Brulie” celebrates Louis & Bruce Conte’s long friendship (Brulie was Bruce’s childhood nickname). And “Chester McGriff” is a nod to two of Louis’ favorite organists: Chester Thompson and the late, great Jimmy McGriff.

“Two Leons In New Orleans,” by Edwin (full name: Edwin Leon Coleman III), pays tribute to Edwin’s late father, bassist Edwin Leon Coleman Jr., who worked with Vince Guaraldi, Ella Fitzgerald, Cal Tjader, and other jazz greats. The song fondly recalls the time the “two Leons” played a series of gigs together in the Crescent City.

Renato, the son of Ambrosio Caranto—a fine saxophonist who once worked with Mel Brown in the Philippines—contributes his composition, “Blues For Merle.” Renato’s late boss (a closet jazz fan as well as a country legend) had loved the tune when Renato played it at a sound check.

With inspirations like the people (and cat) who inspired the material on this CD, it’s no wonder that the King Louie Organ Trio has created such a diverse and compelling musical gumbo here. It turns out that these three career sidemen have plenty of their own to say—and “it’s about time” that they did so!


 
 

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