Folks down in Texas call him "The Scorch," and his electrifying approach to down-home Texas blues-rock with a touch of rock via the Hammond B-3 organ leaves no doubt that Eric Scortia lives up to his provocative nickname. Leading his own ensembles as well as performing with blues masters like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bo Diddley and Delbert McClinton, Eric has captivated audiences throughout the U.S. and Europe with an energizing and eclectic B-3 style that must be seen and heard to be believed. Vital Organ is 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 Vital Organ, which features 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 the tight ensemble action of guitarist Jim Shannon, "Texas Tenor" man Marchel Ivery, trumpeter Ira Basset, labelmate Henry Johnson on guitar, percussionist Bob Stewart, trombonist Don Bozman and drummer Ed Soph, Eric creates an appealing balance of jazz, blues and soul, mixed with six of his own dynamic compositions, all of which evolve into stirring B-3 jamfests.
"Armadillo Stew," a spicy opener, is a tribute to the "Scorch's" Texas chili recipe. "The Scorcher," penned by labelmate Johnson, is a playful blues piece featuring the two Heads Up artists. "Mood Swing," reminiscent of the tunes on the Southern "chittlin'" circuit, reminds us of "Scorch's" dedication to this sound and feel. The lovely ballad "Denise," featuring Marchel's "Texas Tenor" sound, is a dedication to the "Scorch's" wife Denise.
"Monk's Blues" has a whimsical melody similar to those of the Monk himself. The funky, rhythmic "Stanley Steamer" was penned by label prez Dave Love in the Lee Morgan style. "Scorch's" version of the classic "All Blues" features a key change and the soloing of Ivery over a stop time section. "Texas Clay," a tribute to the late tenor man James "Heavy" Clay, is in the "Texas Tenor" tradition, and "Cyber Mode" showcases the group in a Larry Young-like setting.