Friday, February 13, 2015

Jazz with an R&B-3 twist

Katt Hefner
The rhythm and blues feel is inescapable when you've got a Hammond B-3 organ in the house, and that was the case at Friday's South County Jazz Club matinee concert at the Englewood FL Art Center.

Siblings Katt Hefner and Stan Heffner (yes, they spell their last names differently) teamed up for the first time with saxophonist and flutist Tom Ellison. But you wouldn't have known by the performance that it was their first time blending their talents with the Venice-based reed player.

Stan Heffner, Tom Ellison
Katt Hefner is a Sarasota-based jazz singer. Her brother is based in Pittsburgh (he keeps a B-3 up north and another down here), and flies down whenever Kat has an organ-related gig in Florida. He was no doubt glad to escape the Northeast's winter cold for a few days.

The blues, rumba, and more than a bit of R&B figured into their wide-ranging program. 

Highlights: their takes on the Lou Rawls hit "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Me" and the Al Green hit "Let's Stay Together" - and a teasing romp through "Let the Good Times Roll." Stan Heffner's rhythmic, percussive groove at the B-3 is untypical and most interesting. He displayed it nicely throughout, nowhere better than the band's take on "It's Alright With Me."

It was a treat to hear the versatile Ellison in an R&B context most of the afternoon. His flute work on a rumba version of "Love Walked In" was also delightful. 

The trio had great fun - and so did the audience.
Stan Heffner, Katt Hefner, Tom Ellison

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