Ben Paterson Organ Quartet
Philadelphia native Ben Paterson moved to Chicago in 2004 and a year later he’d enrolled in the city’s greatest academy of higher jazz learning: Von Freeman’s band. Until the saxophonist’s death in 2012 Paterson played piano with the master at venues like Jazz Showcase, the Green Mill, Symphony Center, and occasionally at his weekly jam session at the New Apartment Lounge. He’s made a pair of luxuriant trio albums where his fluency in bluesy bebop couldn’t be more clear or profound. Vonski taught him well.
In contrast to the sleek elegance of those trio recordings, he gets down and dirty when he leads his gritty organ quartet, one of the most explosive and soulful bands to emerge from Chicago over the last decade. His feeling for the blues his palpable in his playing, and while he’s not afraid of getting funky, he never lays it on too thick, slathering on the grease with admirable restraint. It helps that his partners in crime are equally adept and hard-swinging, with Kyle Asche spreading harmonies on guitar, George Fludas providing crisp, gut-punching propulsion, and trumpeter Victor Garcia cutting through the din like a scythe. This is a serious groove machine.