News Jazz 08/01/2018

Robert Kennedy - Closer To Home

New York, NY (Top40 Charts) Early Reviews:
A hopping B3 ace that knows how to give the rest of the band some steps up and delivers the goods here as this jazzy outing hits all the right notes throughout. A purely bad ass organ combo date, you can feel the grease dripping as it wends its funky way home. -Chris Spector, Midwest Record

Robert Kennedy's new album, Closer to Home, is one of my favorites to come down the pike. One of the main reasons is because Kennedy, who has been on the stage since the late '80s, plays the B-3 a little differently than everyone else. His Hammond is a little more low-key than usual, but also fun and playful. He fleshes out the sounds of the B-3, and holds them up for everyone to see. Sometimes these notes are round and breathy, and sometimes they are guttural and fluid. Most B-3 players seem hyper-aware of the timbre of the instrument and know, in advance, that certain feelings will be evoked. These feelings may be mostly nostalgic, which tends to give most B-3 recordings a specific sense of time and place. Kennedy can do that as well, when he wants, but it's surprising how he's more interested in creating layers of sound and texture that allow his fellow musicians to shine. -Marc Phillips, The Vinyl Anachronist

Robert Kennedy is a Hammond organist and pianist born and raised in the American South who is now proud to be a part of the Hammond organ's resurgence in the San Francisco area. His first foray into music in the bay area was in 1988, playing piano in the Stanford University Jazz Band and studying jazz piano with the great jazz pianist, band director, and educator Bill Bell.

Robert was a founding member of the groups Hip Pocket Jazz Quintet and Double Funk Crunch, and has had the pleasure of playing venues such as Yoshi's, the Boom Boom Room, Doc's Lab, the Agenda Lounge (back in the day), and the SFJAZZ Miner Auditorium, and has shared stages with renowned players such as Nancy Wright, Calvin Keys, Will Weston, Terrence Brewer, Mason Razavi, and many more, playing jazz, blues, R&B, and rock and roll.

His new album Closer to Home features tunes by ten different composers and takes a step toward the jazz Hammond organ's traditional home territory: hard bop, soul jazz, blues, and gospel. It also includes modern numbers that nod to the style of his 2015 all-original debut release Big Shoes.
Among his many inspirations Robert counts the playing of Jack McDuff, Billy Childs, Larry Goldings, Herbie Hancock, and Tony Monaco.

Closer to Home is Robert Kennedy's second full-length album as leader of a Hammond-organ jazz combo. With a core of hard bop and soul jazz standards, this release nods to gospel, straight-ahead, and jazz/rock while celebrating blues as the foundation of jazz. This mix of standards and original tunes features Kennedy on organ, award-winning San Francisco guitarist Terrence Brewer, and on drums Cody Rhodes of Geographer and Christopher Owens's Curls. On seven of its ten tunes, the album also includes Grammy-winning tenor saxophonist Ben Torres of the Pacific Mambo Orchestra.

Hammond B-3 Organ: Robert Kennedy
Guitar: Terrence Brewer
Tenor Saxophone (tracks 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10): Ben Torres
Drums: Cody Rhodes

1. Wild Bill (3:57)
2. Dat Dere (6:00)
3.Robert's Reflection (5:27)
4. Come On, Come In (6:10)
5. Do You Know a Good Thing
(When You See One)? (5:42)
6. Sista Rissy (6:27)
7. Rakin' and Scrapin' (6:35)
8. Carrot Cake (8:22)
9. Sandu (6:55)
10. Alligator Strut (7:26)

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