OJT plays grooving, organ jazz arrangements of popular songs from the last few decades with hammond organ, guitar, and drums.
Brian Baggett: Guitar Kevin Frazee: Drums Ken Lovern: Hammond Organ
OJT builds on the classic organ jazz trio by mixing old school Kansas City jazz with blues and a modern funky groove. Ken Lovern on Hammond organ, Kevin Frazee on drums, and Brian Baggett on guitar play equal parts in balanced arrangements with stand out improvisations. OJT has been a band for more than 12 years and it shows.
"New Standards for the Green Lady" is the third album length release by the Kansas City based organ jazz group OJT. While previous releases featured jazz standards and original compositions, New Standards for the Green Lady is a collection of OJT's organ jazz arrangements of familiar pop songs. Selected, arranged, and performed over 2 years for audiences at Kansas City's Green Lady Lounge, OJT plays the music of Steely Dan, The Beatles, Tears for Fears, Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson, The Grateful Dead, and even Katy Perry. OJT continues its Wednesday and Saturday night house band gigs at Green Lady Lounge with no end in sight.
"Strong new repertoire."
"The OJT approach features some great grooves." "Brian Baggett . . . nails the guitar riffs, . . . and his solos are highlights throughout, and I mean every track." "Kevin Frazee . . . is solid as a Rockingham." "[Ken's] . . . bass lines absolutely rumble and growl. . . he shines on the solos." "Interplay . . . shows their years working together."
Roger Atkinson, Editor Kansas City Jazz Ambassador Magazine.
Album LIner Notes: "Standards" are the tunes that jazz musicians play. Usually they are mid-20th century Broadway show tunes, or some are original compositions by jazz musicians that have earned the title jazz standard.
When OJT started performing at The Green Lady Lounge in early 2013, we immediately began playing our organ jazz arrangements of hit songs of the last few decades along with our original tunes and standards. The "new" tunes seemed a good fit for the venue and the band
Few, if any, of the tunes on this release could be considered standards. As far as we know, only four of these tunes have previous jazz performances. Eleanor Rigby has been played by Wes Montgomery and others. Bobby Broom did an excellent version of Layla on his album Modern Man, and Charles Earland covered The Way You Make Me Feel. We may have been influenced by some of these versions. The Bad Plus has an esoteric and mellow version of Everybody Wants to Rule the World, but we weren't aware of that until recently. The rest of these tunes began their jazz life at the hands of OJT.
The Green Lady Lounge has a hip retro cocktail vibe that provides the perfect setting for playing jazz. We hope that our treatment of these familiar tunes brings that vibe to your ears.
Produced by Ken Lovern Recording Engineer: Ken Lovern Mix Engineer: Chad Meise Mastering Engineer: Collin Jordan at The Boiler Room All selections arranged by Ken Lovern with additional arranging by Brian Baggett and Kevin Frazee
Photos by Brandon Cale (thepopperazzi.com) Layout by John Scott OJT Logo created by Jon Bidwell
Special thanks to John Scott and the entire staff of The Green Lady Lounge. 1809 Grand, KCMO.
A big thank you to all of the music fans who come to The Green Lady Lounge every week. This music only happens with your help. A big thanks to our families and everyone who encouraged us and helped us with this project. You know who you are and so do we.
Specific thanks to Rick Prevallet of tonewheelgeneral.com for his excellent organ and leslie parts and maintenance.
Kevin Frazee plays Treehouse drums.
Roger Atkinson - Kansas City Jazz Ambassador Magazine (Apr 1, 2015)
New Standards for the Green Lady
The OJT – Organ Jazz Trio, in case you wondered – have been Green Lady Lounge regulars since 2013. The band has been together for a decade, and this regular (once or twice a week) gig has allowed an already seasoned band to develop a strong new repertoire. They call this New Standards, and even though the tunes may be familiar they have not often been tackled by jazz musicians.
The tracks are not all new, really. The Steely Dan opening tracks are from the 1970s, the Beatles track from the 1960s. “West L.A. Fadeaway” and “Black Peter” are from the Grateful Dead, and I remember when I was a teen how Baltimore DJ Fat Daddy woke me up almost daily with “Layla.” Michael Jackson, Tears for Fears and Katy Perry tunes round it out.
The repertoire works for OJT, and this should not surprise. Steely Dan is a favorite of jazz musicians and their work is full of jazz elements (and jazz musicians). The Grateful Dead was a jam band known for its extended improvisations. And jazz musicians have always been able to find and adapt good pop material into their approach.
The OJT approach features some great grooves, and that means Kevin Frazee, who is solid as a Rockingham. It starts right from the first track, an easy blues that would not be out of place on a Bill Doggett record. On “Fez” that groove is the Latin Side of OJT; check out that organ growl during the organ/guitar vamp behind Frazee’s solo. He swings “Eleanor Rigby,” and Baggett sounds a bit like Pat Martino here. And how about the shuffle on “The Way You Make Me Feel,” and another easy groove on a “Layla” that finds more inspiration from the Unplugged version than the original from Derek and the Dominos.
Brian Baggett is one of my favorite KC area guitarists, and the OJT is a format for him. He nails the guitar riffs (check “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”), and his solos are highlights throughout, and I mean every track. I especially liked him on “I Kissed a Girl,” which starts slow and then romps into a double-time. You need to comp strong rhythms in the organ trio, and Brian excels here also. His interplay with Lovern shows their years working together.
The Hammond B-3 is a powerful tool, and many organists like to show off that power. Ken Lovern can do that but rarely exploits the B-3. His bass-lines are strong, and they can absolutely rumble and growl. He shines on the solos, and the climaxes are exciting, “The Fez” being a great example.
The “OJT Theme 2015” is their closing riff, and it is often the highlight of a Green Lady set. The tune can go in many directions, and my reaction is usually “you mean the set is over already?” They do it again here. This “Theme” makes me want to grab another brew and stay for another OJT set. —Roger Atkinson