It’s often been said that true artists will perform with the same passionate intensity whether they’re playing for a crowd of thousands or just a few in an intimate club setting. After 13 years of consistent high octane gigging, the Towner Galaher Organ Trio – drummer/leader Towner Galaher, B-3 organist Lonnie Gasperini, guitarist Marvin Horne - put this to the test in a unique, exciting, anything can happen way, defiantly combating the isolating pandemic blues by inviting a small number of family and friends to witness a live recording (smack dab during lockdown in July 2020) at the now closed Daddy Jack’s in New London, CT.
With no planned set list, the trio went to town, playing whatever tune Galaher called out, and quite remarkably tracking 14 fast paced, high spirited (except for a tender, meditative take on “Lover Man” about halfway through) tunes in less than four hours. Showcasing a locked in, intuitive camaraderie that Galaher eloquently describes in the liner notes as having “a groove deep and wide with heartfelt and creative soloing riding over the top,” the trio goes to town on paying homage to their organ trio forebears (sometimes quite directly on a booming, hard swinging romp through Jack McDuff’s “Hot Barbecue” and a cool, sly and jangling strut on Jimmy Smith’s “Mellow Mood”) with a set full of relentless jamming energy and soul-piercing solo action.
While craftily putting their own spin on a unique slate of standards (including “Willow Weep For Me,” “I’m Walkin’,” Dr. Lonnie Smith’s three beat pulsified “Norleans”), the collection also highlights the incredible composing skills of Gasperini, who contributed five originals, starting with the feisty, bustling opening homage “One For McGriff.” Another remarkable aspect of this live recording is the fact that with the exception of “Fever” – which took two takes to nail – every other song was captured in a single take. In the wake of Joey DeFrancesco’s recent passing, it would be great to see other organ groups like Galaher’s remind us just how incredible the vibe can be.