Four incredible albums from Hammond legend Brian Auger – a key link between jazz and the headier sounds of the UK scene at the end of the 60s! First up is Open – one of the amazing early albums from the team of Julie Driscoll and Brian Auger – kind of a next-generation to the Brit beat group sound of the mid 60s – one that moves beyond simple R&B modes, to bring in more sophisticated soul and jazz touches! Driscoll's vocals are amazing – some of the boldest belted out in the British scene at the time – and Auger's Hammond work really cooks throughout – at a level that easily makes him one of the best UK organists to hit the scene, amidst some very heady company in the 60s. There's a few bluesy moments, but our favorites are the funky ones – especially the group's reading of "Season Of The Witch", which is tremendous. Other cuts include "In & Out", "Black Cat", "Goodbye Jungle Telegraph", and "Break It Up". Definitely What is a landmark batch of funky organ work that made big waves in both the rock and jazz worlds at the time! Auger's really stretching out here – getting past the simple R&B of his roots, and going into a bubbling funky style that's clearly touched by chromatic inspirations from Wes Montgomery
and Jimmy Smith
– both of whom are referenced by some of the song structures on the set. The album's filled with killer organ-based instrumentals – some lean and stripped down, others full and rich – and all of them coming across with a richly soulful sound that you'd hardly expect from a member of the British rock scene! Titles include "Day In The Life", "Red Beans", "Definitely What!", and his classic "Bumpin' On Sunset". Streetwise is filled great funky grooves by the legendary Trinity group – featuring excellent keyboard work by Brian Auger, recorded during the period when he was really beginning to stretch out a bit, and hit a much more open-ended kind of sound. Julie Driscoll is still on vocals, singing in her raw sound, but Brian's Trinity group gets a fair number of nice instrumental moments on the set – which are greatly appreciated! Titles include the classic and sample laden "Light My Fire", "Czechoslovakia", "Finally Found You Out", "In Search Of The Sun", "Ellis Island", "I've Got Life", and "Save The Country". Befour is the third album from Brian Auger & The Trinity – and the first to feature the group recording without vocals from Julie Driscoll! The sound here is just as soulful as before – a tight take on American soul jazz and funky soul of the 60s – pushed along by Auger's mighty work on the Hammond organ, and featuring (this time around) some male lead vocals, which seem to give the album an even deeper feel than earlier work! Auger's included some great covers of American tunes like "I Want To Take You Higher", "Listen Here", and "Maiden Voyage" – all redone with some great Brit beat group touches – and the album also features a great take on Faure's "Pavane", and Auger's own "Just You Just Me".