JAZZ & BLUES MAGAZINE
by Ron Weinstock
2b3 is an organ trio that has devoted this project to the music of Jimi Hendrix. 2b3 consists of electric guitarist Mike Abbott, B-3 organist and synthesizer player Jeff Jenkins, and drummer Mike Marlier. All three have long careers as performers, educators, and more.
Abbott has performed or recorded with Randy Brecker, Maria Schneider, Jeff Hamilton, John Clayton, Sammy Davis Jr., Burt Bacharach, Joey Calderazzo, Marc Copland, and others. Abbott is the author of “The Guitar and Amp Sourcebook,” and currently teaches at the University of Denver, Colorado Conservatory for The Jazz Arts, and privately in Denver. Drummer Marlier
has performed and recorded with countless artists and musicians, including Dave Grusin, Nelson Rangell, Benny Golson, Bobby Shew, Rob Mullins, the Neophonic Jazz Orchestra, Lee Ritenour, and Stanley Jordan. He is director of drum set studies at Lamont School of Music of Denver University.
Jenkins, as a jazz pianist, has worked with many jazz legends. These include Phil Woods, Freddie Hubbard, David Fathead Newman, Marlena Shaw, Eddie Harris, Richie Cole, Dakota Staton, Bobby Hutcherson, Curtis Fuller, Benny Golson, John Abercrombie and Clark Terry. He was resident in New York in the eighties, where he studied with Richie Beirach, Kenny Barron,
and Fred Hersch. He currently is teaching at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and for the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts.
This recording is fascinating, with some performances closer to Hendrix’s recordings than others. While the trio might reference at times the melody of “Manic Depression,” the energetic and exciting instrumental solos are pretty free-flowing in a jam band vein. This also holds on the rendition of “Purple Haze” that opens this album and the driving version of “Fire.” In contrast, the foundation for the atmospheric interpretation of “Little Wing” hews somewhat close to Hendrix’s original recording, although there is no attempt to imitate Hendrix’s sound. “Foxy Lady” (misspelled Foxey on the album) is almost transformed into an organ trio shuffle with Jeff Jenkins providing color for Abbott’s searing guitar solo before laying down his own choice
soulful organ solo before Marlier takes the spotlight.
There are two tracks I believe are not associated with Hendrix as a performer. “Etched in Stone,” by Jeff Jenkins is a gospel-laced blues that evokes “A Change Is Gonna Come,” while “Jimi” by Mike Abbott is a dreamy composition with Jenkins setting the atmosphere for Abbott’s nuanced solo.
Jimi Hendrix’ music has long attracted interpretations from jazz artists going back to Gil Evans Big band. 2b3 have added to this body of jazz interpretations of Hendrix with an intriguing and appealing recording. This is set for release August 5, 2021.