Organ Monk, award for Plummer, Onaje Gumbs, Elombe tribute
Ron Scott | 4/21/2017, 4:28 p.m.
When Greg Lewis (aka Organ Monk) plays the Hammond B-3 electric organ, it takes on the lively colors of soul, R&B and jazz with the accompaniment of electric guitar and drums. He has been swinging with this hip hypnotic style for more than half a century.
April 20 (tonight) and April 27 Organ Monk, with Blue Ray, will blaze Harlem’s American Legion Post 398, at 248 W. 132nd St. His interpretation of Thelonious Monk tunes such as “Lulu’s Back in Town” is a creative romping joy.
Lewis is excited about his latest CD project, “The Breathe Suite” (self-produced), which he will be performing during his engagement at the legion. The CD is set for an early May release date. “I can’t protest, because if I protest I go to jail,” said Lewis. “And if I go to jail, I can’t feed my kids. So what I can do is write music. I want to get this record to each of the people. Even if it brings joy for just a minute to these families, that’s what I can do.”
Each of Lewis’ compositions (five tracks) are dedicated to Blacks who have been killed during confrontations with police officers. Michael Brown, Eric Garner and others, and the horrific episodes that led to their deaths, have been permanently etched into the public’s conscience. Trayvon Martin, though not killed by police, is also included.
“This music, though at times dirge-like and appropriately angry, is ultimately resilient and celebratory,” said Lewis. “It allows us not only to mourn their deaths but to remember their lives.”
The first track (First Movement) “Chronicles of Michael Brown” features Nasheet Waits on drums, Marc Ribot on guitar, Reggie Woods on tenor Sax, Riley Mullins on trumpet and Lewis on the Hammond B3 Organ. The (Second Movement) “Trayvon” (3:22) is a trio with guitarist Ron Jackson and drummer
Jeremy “Bean” Clemons.
For the CD, visit www.greglewismusic.com. To see Lewis and his Hammond B3 performing live, the American Legion is the place.
In the midst of Brooklyn’s hustle and bustle there is an oasis called Sistas’ Place that is protected from the piercing sounds of the city. It is a hip sanctuary where jazz is the order of the evening and the sounds being heard are from the best jazz musicians on the A-list.
The veteran political strategist, educator and businesswoman Viola Plummer established Sistas’ Place 22 years ago in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. It has since become an irreplaceable cultural institution in the heart of the borough and influential far beyond its local boarders.
April 22, this writer will present Plummer with the Jazz Journalists Association’s 2017 Heroes Award, as a tribute to her on-going efforts to keep jazz alive and well-nourished in the community and her continued activism to enlarge the jazz family.
This special presentation will take place where the music started, Sistas’ Place (456 Nostrand Ave.), at a 7:30 p.m. The regular music weekend schedule will continue after the presentation. The composer, arranger and trombonist Craig S. Harris will be leading one of his outstanding groups known for musical expeditions that take one beyond mere listening.