…when it comes to Nigel, Joel, and Ross, I’m prepared to sing their praises from the rooftops.

Nervy Nigel Records NERVYCD004

Nigel Price (guitar); Ross Stanley (Hammond organ); Joel Barford (drums)

Recorded July 2023

I don’t believe that Nigel Price is capable of making a bad or indifferent album; he simply cares too much about the music and how he presents it. Once again, he delivers the goods with the latest album from his Organ Trio.

A tried and tested formula this may be, but there is nothing remotely stale or formulaic about this invigorating set. The trio has worked tirelessly on their music and developed a sixth sense that ensures the music always has that edge-of-your-seat excitement.

This hard work has paid handsome dividends, and the trio has its own sound that is contemporary and unmistakably their own.

What always strikes me when listening to Nigel Price is how fresh he sounds. He must have played some of these standards thousands of times, yet he always has something new to say.

The guitarist also manages to give the impression that he is discovering the music for the first time, and his joy in playing is clear for all to hear. This is true of the trio as a whole, and the music positively sizzles.

Of the nine tunes presented here, five are penned by Price, and they are corkers. Paradoxically, Price’s compositions have a familiar and comforting air about them, giving the impression that you have listened to them before, and they are now old friends while his approach to standards is to give them a little tweak here and there as if to surprise the listener.

This he does on “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most,” which I must confess is one of my favorite ballads. Nigel has changed the harmony and the key in which he plays it, and in the company of Joel Barford and Ross Stanley, the tune seems to be opened up.

“Falling In Love With Love” is another that you seem to think you should know inside out and backwards until the trio once again makes the ears prick up, and you listen afresh.

Of the original compositions, the guitarist acknowledges some of his influences with the hard-swinging “Hey Shirley” for the often-overlooked Shirley Scott.

“Stryke One” is for fellow guitarist Dave Stryker, and the wonderful “Night Flight” that began as a contrafact of Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage” before Nigel doffs his hat in the direction of Wes Montgomery.

Moments like this are a constant delight, and to try and pick out particular solos or high points in the music is a pointless exercise as the trio delivers one knockout punch after another.

I’ll say this quietly for fear of being overheard, but I’m not the greatest fan of organ trios. However, when it comes to Nigel, Joel, and Ross, I’m prepared to sing their praises from the rooftops.