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John Novello – Good to Go

Mar. 29, 2019

Veteran keys/Hammond B3 master John Novello is back on the scene creating some jazzy feel-good, some bluesy feel-good, and some funky feel-good vibes all over this album he calls Good to Go. Yeah, after a listen, I think you’ll agree with that title as the album shoots out of the starting gate in typical grab-you-by-the-ears-and-soul Novello style. The album spells out eclectic in sure fashion.

Offering such goodies as the interesting, at times rather fusiony lead and title track featuring saxman Eric Marienthal; the heavy-steppin’ bluesy “Skin In the Game” featuring guitarist Adam Hawley and that tell-tale B3; the upbeat, Latin-tinged, jazz fusion-laced “Thanks (For Being You);” the sweetly romantic, soulfully bluesy “Love Affair” featuring guitarist Chris Standring; a flavorful up-tempo c-jazz thang featuring saxtress Jazmin Ghent; and a straight-ahead bluesy nod to Charlie Mingus as Novello steps out on “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat.”

Not wanting to just leave you wanting more, Novello breaks out a feel-good funky little keys/B3 gem called, appropriately, “Happy Place;” a most expressive and impressive undertaking called “Give Me Your World” with rising sax star Jeff Ryan; another Latin upbeat called “Alma Feliz,” and one solidly jazzy interpretation of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein “My Favorite Things” to end the album in style.

Good stuff? Absolutely. The last project I reviewed by Novello was a bit heavier on the B3 side – certainly not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination, just a lot bluesier, but equally as captivating. Another emphasis, another focus — and jazz is nothing if an artist doesn’t evolve at least a bit. All in all, this is an A+ effort worthy of your time and ears. Get with it. – Ronald Jackson