Pete York and Young Friends ‘Basically Speaking’ (ACT) 4/5

pete_york_young_friendsPerhaps the biggest compliment one could pay to this band is that if one were given a blindfold test, then one would have expected this formation to have come out of Chicago, or Philadelphia and not Germany. The idea behind the project is to pay homage to the music of Count Basie, but in a slightly different (though no less empathetic) setting of a small combo soul-jazz format complete with Hammond organ. This makes for a soulful and swinging jazz experience and the warm tenor saxophone of Gábor Bolla helps matters considerably. Pete York is a vastly experienced musician who, in 1965, recorded with the Spencer Davis group that included Miff and Steve Winwood. An instantly recognisable Lester Young penned ‘Tickle Toe’ features some tasty Grant Greenesque guitar licks from Torsten Goods while ‘Jumpin’ at the Woodside’ is infused with some Hammond grooves out of the Jimmy Smith bag. On ‘Flip, flop and joy’ the leader engages in some bluesy vocals on the infectious mid-tempo groove. Retro this may be, but boring and predictable it most certainly is not. Tim Stenhouse