She doesn’t just play pretty. Her breath control is amazing. She trills her notes.

GLM Records

Isabelle Bodenseh – flutes; Thomas Bauser – Hammond Organ; Lorenzo Petrocca – guitar; Lars Binder – drums; Hilde Singer-Biedermann – Violin (Track 9); Ruth Sarrazin – Cello (Track 9)

Organ combos were very popular in the fifties and sixties. They seemed to fall out of favor in the seventies and, especially the eighties, when fusion took over the jazz landscape.

Isabelle Bodenseh just released an organ combo album that’s as good as any of the classics from the past. It’s a little bit different because Isabelle is a flute player. Most of the organ combos had a tenor sax player. I’m thinking of Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis with Shirley Scott or Red Holloway with JackMcDuff.

This group isn’t as rambunctious as the older organ combos. That’s in preference to the quieter flute, but, they still swing just fine.

Isabelle Bodenseh is different than some of the flutists you heard in the seventies. She doesn’t just play pretty. Her breath control is amazing. She trills her notes. She bends them. She’ll overblow. Sometimes she’ll make rhythmic noises on her keys. Yeah, she plays pretty as well. She usually sticks to the bass flute, which sounds one octave lower than a regular C flute.

Isabelle formed her quartet in 2018 with Lorenzo Petrocca on guitar, Thomas Bauser on Hammond organ, and Lars Binder on drums.

Isabelle Bodenseh wrote most of the tunes on the album. The other three members each wrote one.

Lorenzo Petrocca reminds me of one of my favorite guitar players; Pat Martino. He gets such a beautiful tone out of his hollow body guitar and I love the way his notes hang in the air.

Petrocca wrote ‘Mediterranean Bossa’ and he really shows off his guitar skills on this. He solos more on this than the other tunes. Drums, organ, and flute are right beside him making him sound even better.

‘Flowing Mind, ’the title track comes on like a warm summer breeze with a bit of a bossa nova feel. The interplay between band members is seamless. Lars Binder on drums can sound like a melody instrument when he plays in duo with Isabelle. A Hammond organ can be pretty loud. Thomas Bauser has a light touch. He never overplays.

‘Chilli Challi ’has a cool funk groove going on thanks in part to the drummer’s steady beat. Binder doesn’t use his cymbals all that much but you notice them when he does. Bauser’s Hammond organ turn this tune into a cooker!

I’ll be listening to FLOWING MIND for some time to come. I wouldn’t be surprised if it helps usher in a renaissance of organ combos.


Reviewed by Tim Larsen