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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Big Shoes




Long Strides

Pleasant Company Expected

Root Bound

Radio Blues

Upper Market

Big Shoes

Never Speak Your Name

Love and Youth and Spring


Robert Kennedy (Hammond B3 organ)
Mason Razavi (guitar)
Cody Rhodes (drums)

Recorded November 2014, Ruminator Audio, San Francisco, CA [57:08]

Robert Kennedy’s Hammond B3 trio, where he is supported by guitarist Mason Razavi and drummer Cody Rhodes, plays straight-ahead music with convincing authority. It’s Kennedy’s debut album as a trio leader and he’s sounds in thoroughly communicative form throughout.

Long Strides is a toe-tapping opener with a Larry Goldings vibe to it and in Pleasant Company Expected we can hear that this is a real trio, in which both other musicians play their part – Razavi takes a taut solo – to generate a fine, strong ensemble sound and character. This waltz also alerts one to the variety that the group finds in what can be a somewhat predictable groove. Root Bound is a giveaway title that immediately opens up a git-on-down ethos with Kennedy managing to extract a fine range and colour from the trusty B3 and, supported by Rhodes, Razavi embarks on a take-off solo. To slow things down there’s a slow-drag Radio Blues that succeeds in delineating its character finely, and leads on to Upper Market. This, like all the other eight tracks, is a Kennedy composition and here, as throughout, he shows a real penchant and skill for crafting groovy, snappy numbers.

Rhodes gets out a shuffle rhythm on Big Shoes and a mordant walking bass vibe ensues, followed by good solos. Some of Razavi’s most up-tempo and teasing playing come in the slow-fast Never Speak Your Name, with its series of changeable moods and fine trades. The unusual, intense and rather Iberian-Latino Lambadame ends a really enjoyable and swinging disc that augurs well for more Kennedy trio projects.

Jonathan Woolf

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