Brian Charette
Courtesy Photo

“It’s a strange instrument, and the people who play it make up an unusual brotherhood,” said Hammond B3 organ master Brian Charette of his signature keyboard. While the B3 may be a strange instrument to play, its unmistakable sound is no stranger to the ears of music lovers in virtually every genre. Do you like the Allman Brothers Band? Then you’ve heard Greg Allman playing one. Are you into progressive rock, like Yes, or Emerson, Lake, and Palmer? Their records are loaded with elaborate B3 lines. How about reggae, or rhythm and blues? That’s Tyrone Downie playing B3 on Bob Marley’s classic Live! version of “No Woman, No Cry,” and Booker T laid down the indelible groove for “Green Onions” while fronting the MGs on a B3. What about more recent stuff? How about the Beastie Boys? Neither “Root Down” nor “What’cha Want?” from their classic 1993 album Ill Communication would sound the way they do without the B3.

When Brian Charette sets up his instrument at SOhO on Monday, January 21, he’ll do so in a classic trio format featuring two other remarkable musicians, drummer Andy Sanesi and guitarist Julian Coryell. If that last name sounds familiar, it should. Julian’s dad Larry was the most influential jazz guitarist of the 1960s and 1970s, a wide-ranging figure who brought electric blues playing to the mainstream and forged new relations among pop, jazz, blues, folk, and even country. Although Julian has his own distinctive sound, he shares his father’s penchant for experimentation and cross-fertilization. When Charette, Sanesi, and Coryell hit the bandstand in Santa Barbara, you can expect the same kind of passionate, eclectic organ trio jazz that took the Hammond B3 out of the church and put it into lounges and nightclubs around the world. As for Brian Charette, this charming pied piper of the B3 travels constantly, and everywhere he goes there are musicians lining up to get together and explore the vast territory he has staked out. Here he’s solidly in the jazz world, but in Los Angeles, where he likes to hook up with the drummer from Tool, he plays hard rock with a fusion influence. Catch him on Monday and see what he’s up to now. Chances are at some point he’ll pull out all the stops.


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