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THEM THAT SWINGETH (2003)
LINER NOTES (by Pete Fallico)
Hearing this music from Eddie Landsberg reminds me of something the great saxophonist, Sweet Papa Lou Donaldson once said: “Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky…From Now On!”
To me, Eddie is saying a similar thing except that the last part changes to: “Gonna Swing…From Now On!” I mean, this music SWINGS !…and there’s no doubt about it.
From the moment we first hear Eddie’s solid bass line, the infectious and uplifting ‘swing’ element takes over. And by his own admission, it’s the locked-in energy between him and drummer, Rudy Petschauer that makes all this possible. Everything else falls nicely in place.
Now ‘Swing’ is sometimes difficult for many of us to understand. We can bounce the word back and forth in conversation and use in unlimited ways as we discuss what we think makes good music…but for this characteristic we call ‘Swing’ to actually manifest within a tune or even permeate a recording session… well, that’s a phenomenon that has yet to be fully understood, let alone appreciated. I suppose we could say a musician either ‘has it’ or doesn’t but that might leave us with even less of an explanation.
The truth is, music that honestly ‘swings’ enters our ears less often than we’d like to admit. It’s a rare treat to be carried away with the aural pleasure that ‘swinging music’ elicits. Oh! But when it happens, we know it! Our legs begin to shuffle rhythmically and our bodies gyrate, moving in ways we might not normally exhibit. Why? …Because it’s about ‘feeling the music’ and reacting to those prompts within us. Music that truly ‘swings’ lets us cut loose! It’s about transcending the sonic qualities and reaching into the visceral possibilities.
Eddie Landsberg ‘has it’… and this music swings!
Today we find Eddie relocated in ‘Old’ Tokyo where he plays nightly to a rapidly growing Japanese fan base. Eddie may soon become the Swingin’-ist Jazz Organ Ambassador we have, following his dream of bringing the Japanese that ‘old-organ-room-feel’ that was SOP in Harlem, Newark and Philadelphia in the 50’s and 60’s. Using ‘Eddie’s Lounge’ as his home base, Ed has created a warm and friendly establishment that mixes both traditional Japanese culture with that old-style Jazz Organ vibe. Fantasies that were once confined to his bedroom are now being realized in grandiose style to numbers of Japanese jazz fans who are enamored with the thrill of American Jazz Organ. ‘Back-in-the-day’, it was leaders like Wild Bill Davis, Milt Buckner and Bill Doggett who romped through the ‘chitlin circuit’ creating havoc amongst the bobby-sox-dancers. Eddie lives to recreate this thematic music scene through constant‘swing’ and a devotion to rhythmic expression. As he has said: “Hammond organ music was the Rock’n Roll music of that day”…and, by golly, he intends to re-awake that era!
For this State-side recording session, Eddie brought in the last drummer to play in Jack McDuff’s great organ combo: Rudy Peschuaer. There has never been any doubt that Rudy can deliver the goods. As Eddie puts it: “Rudy is the Jazz Organist’s dream pocket-drummer”. Being a masterful drummer and one who was schooled by one of the greatest (and possibly most demanding) Jazz organists ever, qualifies Rudy as the ‘right man for the job’. Eddie’s study of the drums and how they communicate with the Jazz Organist left him with only one conclusion: Rudy Petschauer.
Eddie’s choice for tenor saxophonist on this session is equally astute. Jerry Weldon first caught Eddie’s attention playing and recording with the late, great organist, Bobby Forrester. Asking Jerry to join the combo for this latest Landsberg outing was one of the wiser moves. Jerry brings his warmth and soul to the date, which is exactly what Eddie had in mind. His has “a bluesy vibrant sound”, says Eddie… “One that reminds us of the ‘now’ as well as ‘back-in-the-day’”
Guitarist, Royce Campbell was Eddie’s choice from the outset. He, too, impressed Eddie with his cool approach and effortless swing. Most important to Eddie was that ‘meat-and-potatoes’ style of comping that is so essential to a successful organ date. “His comping is brilliant on this album”, states Eddie, who feels the looseness of the session brought forth comfort and ease for each of the players. He is still amazed when he reminds us that: “Some of these tunes were done on the spot with no rehearsing and in just one take”.
Eddie plays with a sincere and reverent nod to history and tradition. His appreciation for those who made their contributions and yet received minimal acknowledgement from the music industry, is revealed in this latest quest to perform the music he truly loves in life. Eddie feels that far too many organists lean toward Jimmy Smith and fail to understand the rambunctious and raucous swing style of those who preceded Jimmy. “Back in the day”, says Eddie, “People were dancing with the Jazz they heard. I want my music to be fun and joyous like that…and this album leans towards this”. Eddie feels that it’s not just about show-off solos but also more about the feeling one can create…and the humanistic thrill Jazz Organ can elicit.
We concur, Ed…’Them That Swingeth’ may be hard for the Japanese to pronounce…but definitely easy for them to feel.
Pete Fallico “The Doodlin Lounge” 2004
KUSP-FM, San Jose