Heads Up International's release of A Night On the Town marks Eric Scortia's national and international solo debut, and it's an album brimming with as much passion and excitement as the man himself.
"The main reason behind the great diversity is that I don't want to be pigeonholed into any one style," says Eric of A Night On the Town, which features pop, jazz, soul and, of course, blues. "I've played the gamut, from down home Southern blues to R&B to rock, and grew up influenced by everything from the Beatles and Led Zeppelin to jazz and country music."
Working in synch with guitarist Jean-Phillippe Rominger, sax and flute player Rene Saenz and drummer Moses Olivo, Eric creates an appealing balance of jazz, blues and rock standards, mixed with five of his own dynamic compositions, all of which evolve into stirring B-3 jamfests.
"Ain't It So," a jazzy up-tempo piece, is "typical of grooving East Coast organ music," and features melodic tradeoffs between Eric and Saenz's horn. "Fuel," a breezy, whimsical original showcasing Eric's B-3 fire and Saenz's peppery flute runs, was written in honor of organ player Larry Young. "It has a very modal sound, and I'm able to show off my pedal technique," Eric says.
Eric had decided to include Roger Miller's lilting country-blues classic "King of the Road" even before the composer's death just prior to release of this album. "Crowds liked when we played it, and I loved his music. It's typical of that 60's AM Radio, lunch box-pickup truck scene of Americana." Thc funky, rhythmic "Vital Organ" was written as an ode to Eric's first band of the same name "and all of its revolving band members."
The Oscar Hammerstein classic, "Softly As In A Morning Sunrise," perfectly displays the jazzier, gospel aspects of Eric's roots. "It's seldom done as a ballad," he says. "For me, it creates that late night New York City mood." The soulful, simmering funk of "Mail Order" (which describes how Eric and Martin Walters wrote it) leads to a climactic fiery dual jam by Eric and Rominger. "Captiva," written by Heads Up President and Eric's long-time musical collaborator Dave Love, is an airwave friendly slice of popjazz with just the right amount of blues. Rominger's delicate acoustic touch is a highlight.
The punchy "Killer Joe" is a longtime blues organ standard, while "Chicken Feathers" is simply Eric's tribute to his favorite dish, featuring an infectious sax motive beneath a playful B-3 melody, breezing into some spicy percussion by Olivo. Finally, Eric pays homage to The Beatles with a spirited reading of "Eleanor Rigby" which takes the tune literally into another musical dimension.