Kerong Chok -]|[- GOOD COMPANY –MP3– [Kerong Chok, 2011 | Review] –
Depending on what circles in the jazz community you dwell in you might be missing out on one of the most cherished, significant and beloved instruments that hasn’t necessarily moved progressively into the millennium in this genre … the Organ. In this case, “Good Company” arrives in the nick of time by an incredible young composer, pianist and organist named Kerong Chok who exhibits the intellect, zeal and embodies texturally stimulating fundamentals that surge with the remnants of boldness.
Born and raised in Singapore, Kerong serves up an impressive collection of ten original jazz pieces by pen him that will certainly take you on a worthy and uplifting musical excursion. With this project, Kerong primarily focuses on playing the Hammond organ with fervor, purpose and vision as composer to uncover the challenges compositionally we long to hear as jazz enthusiasts.
Kerong and the band kicks off the session with sweet ditty called “Black Ice,” this Charles Earland influenced gem is the spark to ignite the flame in this pool of vibrant and soul stirring sounds by the composer. “Literacy” at number two follows. It sways with an infectious and harmonious chant features Lucas Pino on soprano horn snips away bit by bit to give drummer Jake Goldbas and the ensemble the opportunity and ample room to compliment the elements contained in this contagious groove.
With “Good Company” Chok and friends masks to perfection the retro-fitted sounds of old school jazz. The band’s penetrating tone magnifies naturally to take you back up close and personal with a concrete performance on a tireless groove called “Sounds from the Back Alley.” Kerong and his combo swings with fire, eloquence and definition which also feature Matt Holman on trumpet.
At the five spot, a bluesy ballad titled “For Kenny” lightens up the tempo and features Pino on horn this time he plays tenor saxophone along with band-mate Michael Valeanu on guitar. Next up, “The First Day of School” is entangled with back in the day attitude and vibe when musicians thrived to jam relentlessly with a one two punch and the end result is energetic, tight and funky!
“Good Company,” the title cut Kerong slows the pace with a melodic solo at the intro by guitarist Michael Valeanu. Within moments the tune spins into a mid-tempo rump that’s stitched with intriguing and satisfying moods that without doubt soothes the soul.
The ensemble garners the rudiments of time and space to transition into an appetizing tune titled “Incessant.” For the moment, this fiery gem gives the group a chance to communicate creatively, openly and emotionally. At this point, “Incessant” is probably my favorite hidden in the mist of this superb palette. To my surprise, the next song intervene with heavily stirred brew of phat, sassy and funk titled “Free and Easy.” Not missing a beat, the ensemble chips, slices, and grinds away at some seriously funky grooves woven into the body of this tenacious gem. The last selection, “Rill Son” invades with punctual interplay by the band they serve up one of the most swinging and vivacious tunes on this recording.
It’s not by happenstance that this new recording by Kerong Chok landed in my mailbox. The gifted Kerong Chok voice echoes master organist from days past to ultimately reveal his promising and much needed voice amid his colleagues in jazz which proves there are skillful and brilliant players among us ready to deliver the goods by serving up hefty dose of jazz with old school flavor bundled with a relevant and enticing young voice in modern jazz! Highly Recommended!
–Rob Young | Urban Flux Media | Review