Forthcoming August 2021, is the album “Jimi” by jazz organ trio, 2B3. The group is comprised of veteran musicians, who have put their considerable talents together to pay homage to Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix, as many know, is the American guitarist whose electrified (not merely electric) style of playing helped to revolutionize rock and roll. Here, Hendrix seems to be remembered as an American institution, a musician whose work transcends genre. “Jimi” packages rock music in jazz, but the heart of the songs shines through.
For a number of modern musicians, a tribute to Hendrix seems like a good idea. The skillfulness with which they can pull off the project is another matter entirely. Skillfulness is not the issue here.
2B3 is comprised of Jeff Jenkins on B3 organ and synthesizer; Mike Abbott on electric guitar, and Mike Marlier on drums. The musicians have played with some of the most well-known names in modern music, including The Rolling Stones’ horn section, Paul Shaffer, Burt Bacharach, Phil Woods, David Fathead Newman, Benny Golson and many others.
While Abbott and Marlier finished music degrees, Jenkins found his path by playing by ear. Jenkins spent the 1980s in New York, and in part of that time, he played in the musical “Little Shop of Horrors,” an off-Broadway favorite. Jenkins also toured with The Who’s “Tommy” in the 1990s. He plays regularly with a variety of musicians, including the Ken Walker Sextet. He teaches at the University of Colorado, and for the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts.
Audiences familiar with music theory and chord books are likely to have seen the name Mike Abbott before. He is the author of “The Guitar and Amp Sourcebook.” He has also transcribed rock and blues songs for Guitar World magazine, Warner Brothers Publications and Hal Leonard Publications. He performs with The Mike Abbott Trio and many of Denver’s finest musicians.
Marlier won the Louis Armstrong Excellence in Jazz Award during his senior year of high school. He attended Interlochen Arts Academy and graduated from Bowling Green State University. After his college graduation, Marlier moved to Denver.
“Purple Haze” by 2B3
The recording is a concise recording of eight songs. Most of the songs are Hendrix’s classics, such as “Foxey Lady,” “Purple Haze,” “Hey Joe,” and “Manic Depression.” Among the well-known tracks is the original, “Jimi.”
The rock and roll roots of the album are undeniable. “Purple Haze” for example begins with a throaty reproduction of the original guitar rhythms. That is quickly joined by soulful organ. The familiar bones of the song are there. The guitar and organ almost have a call-and-response type of exchange. The drums are heavy and classic and continue to lend the song its rock edge, even when during the more jazz-oriented moments. Even with an organ showcase that riffs along in a unique way, the heart of this version of “Purple Haze” retains its rock and roll heart.
The entirety of “Jimi” is a subtle brand of spectacular. Audiences who think they have heard all the Jimi tribute recordings worth hearing, should perhaps reserve their judgment until they have heard this one.
For more about the band and their work, visit:http://www.2b3trio.com.