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Eric Siereveld’s Organic Quintet debut album Walk the Walk, also talks the talk. The eight tracks are full of all the soul and fire you would expect from an organ record, but where the album surprises the listener is in the depth and substance each track delivers. “Writing music for an organ date can have pitfalls…you don’t want it to just sound like a blowing session,” Siereveld says. “The goal of this album was to create something that fit in with the organ jazz tradition, but also gave it a fresh perspective that brings new life to that tradition.” On February 23rd, Shifting Paradigm Records releases Walk the Walk and audiences will have a chance to hear the Organic Quintet blaze new pathways in the organ jazz genre.
Eric Siereveld lives in New York City, but says that his love of organ jazz goes back to his childhood growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio. “I first heard the B3 organ being played when I was in high school, by Cincinnati keyboardist Steve Schmidt with his organ trio at the now defunct Blue Wisp Jazz Club. After seeing Steve play the organ, I started seeking out records by Jimmy Smith, Big John Patton, Joey DeFrancesco, etc. and while it’s hard to explain, I could tell even then that I was listening to something familiar, yet different. I think it’s only fitting that my debut recording as a leader features a quintet with organ…it’s an instrument I’ve felt a connection to since I was a kid.”
The compositions on Walk the Walk are a musical journey based on the places the leader has lived, or the musicians that have deeply influenced him. “The Last Innovator” is a nod to jazz trumpeter Woody Shaw. Siereveld says, “I wanted a tune that conjured the sound of Woody on Larry Young’s seminal classic Unity. Woody was the last truly innovative jazz trumpeter, and this tune was written to capture his inventive style.” “Toughin’ Up” is a fast blues, and represents the leader’s time in Brooklyn. “New York is a hard place to live at times… and it was never any harder then when I first moved to the city. But, after getting acclimated, I learned to feed off that energy and allow it to push me to become a better musician.”
The addition of acclaimed guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg, well-known for his work with jazz organ legend Dr. Lonnie Smith, was a no-brainer, and the two even worked together to write some of the music for the album. “The title track, ‘Walk the Walk’, was a collaboration with Jonathan,” states Siereveld. “As I was writing, I hit a bit of a block, so I brought it to Jonathan, he revised the bridge and made an adjustment to the melody in the A section. This was my first collaboration, and the result is an original tune that really sets the attitude of the album.”
“Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered” is the only song on the record that is not an original, but it is presented in an original way. “This was a completely spontaneous moment,” says Siereveld. “Jonathan and I were just recording a rehearsal of the verse, and we kept rolling. One take. I knew we had something special when our drummer Mitch said, “I have nothing to add to that. That was beautiful.” The warmth of Siereveld’s flugelhorn and depth of Kreisberg’s tone give this Rodgers & Hart composition a vulnerability rarely captured on record. Danish bassist Morten Haxholm and Jonathan Kreisberg wrote “Occam’s Razor” for the bassist’s album coming out later this spring. But Kreisberg thought this sharp, driving tune would be an excellent addition to the Organic Quintet’s debut proceeding.
“B-Town Bop” evokes a Tadd Dameronian sensibility and is a tribute to the late great jazz educator David Baker. “I was fortunate enough to be a part of David’s legacy at Indiana University,” says Siereveld. “The man was one of a kind and he helped me develop my musical voice at a pivotal time in my life. For me, this tune reflects his selfless spirit and dedication to jazz education.” In contrast to “Toughin’ Up,” Siereveld describes “The Other Side (of the Hudson)” as a “slow, pulsating blues that reflects the sleepy nature of nighttime across the river from the city that never sleeps.” Siereveld continues, “After my time in Brooklyn, I moved to West New York, NJ. This tune grew out of a memory I have walking my dog along Hudson late one night. Hearing the sounds of the city bounce off the water and echo through the buildings was the inspiration for the call and response in the melody.”
Walk the Walk comes to a conclusion with a spirited Blue Note style Boogaloo titled “Split-Finger.” Siereveld attributes this tune to his hometown baseball team, the Cincinnati Reds and to his fondness for the 60’s boogaloos of Blue Mitchell and Lee Morgan. The final track brings the album to a funky, soulful conclusion. Order the album here: https://shiftingparadigmrecords.bandcamp.com/album/walk-the-walk
About Eric Siereveld –
For more than a decade, NYC trumpeter Eric Siereveld has built a reputation as a multifaceted performer, composer and educator. Deeply influenced by the hard bop/post bop tradition, his compositions and improvisations are historically rooted yet forward thinking. In 2014 Eric relocated to Madison, WI to take the position of Instructor of Jazz Trumpet and Director of the Afro-Cuban Jazz Ensemble at the University of Wisconsin’s Mead-Witter School of Music. Eric returned to NYC in 2017 and is an active performer, educator, and clinician and is a private instructor at the United Nations International School in Manhattan. Eric frequently performs on and off Broadway. In addition to the Organic Quintet, he can be heard performing with his trio and quartet as well as many engagements as a sideman in small groups, and big bands.