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Pete Levin 

click to enlarge 2008, Pete Levin Music.
  • 2008, Pete Levin Music.


The simple title pun of Pete Levin’s latest CD betrays the rich layers of music within. Here, Ulster County resident Levin, long a synthesizer specialist for artists from jazz arranger Gil Evans to Paul Simon, returns to what he calls his first love—organ jazz—for the second time since last year’s Deacon Blues (Motema). For Certified Organic, Levin assembled a similar cast of band mates, adding guitarist Jesse Gress (Todd Rundgren, Uncle Funk), percussionist Ernie Colon, and the other two-thirds of his regular organ trio, guitarist John Carridi and drummer Harvey Sorgen (Hot Tuna).

In addition to four Levin originals (the opener “I’m Falling” stands out with its ripping Carridi solo), the disc offers some deftly picked covers: the Jaco Pastorius burner “Teen Town”; Cole Porter’s classic “Love for Sale,” which gets a nice funk (not fusion, thankfully) treatment; and Prince’s “The Question of U,” which gets flipped on its well-crafted ear. And on a sad note, Levin’s longtime friend and collaborator, guitarist Joe Beck, makes one of his final appearances here before he passed away in July. Listen to the deeply soulful version of “Where Flamingos Fly” to hear Beck’s magic while Levin lays back. This track and three others are available for download at www.myspace.com/petelevinmusic.

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