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Levin, Pete: Certified Organic

Keyboardist/ arranger Pete Levin is known perhaps as the 'other' bald Levin (his brother is of course bassist Tony Levin of King Crimson & Peter Gabriel fame), however over the course of his storied career the list of musicians Pete has worked with is extensive enough (including playing with Tony in his band) to fill a small encyclopedia. Whether it's Paul Simon, Annie Lenox or John Scofield to name just a few, he has probably played on almost as many sessions as his brother has, not to mention his credits composing for film and television. Since 1990 he's also been able to devote time to his own solo career, releasing over ten albums since then. In 2007 he returned as a band leader with Deacon Blues which found him returning to his first love, the Hammond organ. Certified Organic see's him continuing in this vein recording in a trio format with guitar and drums, and delivering a collection of originals and standards in a way that only he can.

Levin is joined on every composition here by drummer Harvey Sorgen while the guitar duties are split between four very capable guitarists, among them the late Joe Beck who unfortunately succumbed to lung cancer in the summer of 2008 not long after he completed his contributions to Certified Organic. With this in mind, Beck's emotion filled, plaintive solo on "Where Flamingoes Fly" takes on a special significance to say the least. This track features some absolutely beautiful, soft opening Hammond passages that serves to warm up the listener for Beck's eventual introduction and perfectly timed solo. Whether he's tackling the Cole Porter standard "Love For Sale" and dosing it with a liberal amount of playful funk, or running through the Jaco Pastorious penned "Teen Town" in much the same fasion, a track which features a heaping amount of blistering sax work from guest musician Erik Lawrence, organic is certainly a good way to sum up the feeling that comes through loud and clear on these performances. Levin may be the bandleader but he allows each musician the space within the music to add their own distinctive color to each composition, while Pete does what he does best and that's kick back and rock the Hammond! I mean damn he even makes a Prince cover ("The Question of U") sound good.

Certified Organic demonstrates that Levin and his crew are just as capable of swinging with a glorious amount of reckless abandon as they are laying back and tugging on your heart strings with a good old fashioned ballad or two here and there. If you like the huge sound and warm tones of the Hammond organ, great ensemble playing and expertly crafted songs then you'll definitely want to do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this extremely engaging record as soon as possible.

Track Listing
1) I'm Falling
2) Nana
3) Love 4 Sale
4) Patience
5) Teen Town
6) Where Flamingoes Fly
7) Out Of Darkness
8) When I Was Young
9) The Question Of U
10) The Face In The Mirror

Added: January 25th 2009
Reviewer: Ryan Sparks
Related Link: Offical Pete Levin Website
Hits: 1960
Language: english

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