Album Review of

Written by Joe Ross
May 23, 2023 - 9:53am EDT
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The Towner Galaher Organ Trio features Towner Galaher (drums), Lonnie Gasperini  (Hammond B-3 organ) and Marvin Horne (guitar). Capturing the energy and chemistry of a working jazz and blues trio that has played together for about 15 years, Live was recorded in four hours’ time with only a second take required of “Fever.” Galaher was quite pleased with the result of “musicians that are locked in from the first downbeat and ready to make the groove deep and wide with heartfelt and creative soloing riding over the top.”

At venues like Londel’s Supper Club in Harlem, this trio has built a reputation for dishing out thick, satisfying jazz blues that swirls around in your gut and touches the heart. Confidence, conviction and vision are shown by these three highly skilled musicians who have formed a unique bond. B-3 organist Gasperini demonstrates beautiful playing as he covers the likes of Dr. Lonnie Smith’s “Norleans” and the funky, soulful Jack McDuff’s “Hot Barbecue” that is a particularly sweet showcase for the single note linearity, a la Grant Green, of Horne’s fluid and tasteful guitar improvisation with speed, dexterity and precision.  Marvin Horne is a former guitarist to Aretha Franklin and many jazz greats.

Five Gasperini originals are also very tasty, including “Keep Talkin’,” “Lonnie’s Funk,” “North Beach Blues,” “Little Bit of This, Little Bit of That” and “One for McGriff.” While I imagined some guest saxophonist in the mix for a few of the funkier numbers, like his “North Beach Blues” and Lou Donaldson’s “Alligator Boogaloo,” I’m not one to quibble at their trio’s successful achievement.  Horne and Galaher provide just the right riffs and rhythms to complement the arrangements that were largely “on the fly,” and the result of intangible magic and telepathy.

The guitarist and organist trade a lot of hot lines while Galaher demonstrates his mastery of bebop and post-bop stylistic elements, developing the ride beat, phrasing with his sticks, incorporating some triplet variations, and using his hi-hat as a fourth voice. While a few more measures of drum soloing would’ve been nice, such as those he gets on “One for McGriff,” the cat is always articulating a very solid, expressive groove. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in music from Empire State College and a Master’s in jazz performance from Queens College, New York-based Galaher has a 40-year career as an educator, mentor and author.

These three consummate musicians get to the heart and soul of their music quickly in the set, enabling and elevating profound musical conversations. Towner Galaher Organ Trio has creative music and contemporary vision that is pushing their music forward, but they’re also remaining in touch with their roots. The real treat of their Live album is that we get to hear an outstanding trio perform entertaining music that simply makes us feel good. (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)