Quality soul and jazz crops up in the most unlikely places these days, and though I’m no real expert of things Australian, I never expected that that country’s lovely Sydney to be the source of some wonderful new soul-jazz!

Yes, I say “new” but a quick listen to a lovely ‘From Blues To Bliss’ by THE JACK RAY ORGAN BAND might make you think you’d dropped on some rare Blue Note or Verve 60s soul-jazz album, for that’s the sound the Aussie quartet deliver.

The band is Jack Ray-Guitar, Chris O’Dea- Tenor Saxophone, Daniel May- Organ, and Tim Geldens- Drums. Between them they cook up a real vintage sound that from the onset was meant to be a homage to Blue Note style soul-jazz.

The title track’s melding of Ray’s guitar and May’s Hammond sets the tone, echoing players like Jimmy Smith, Grant Green, Jimmy McGriff, Brother Jack McDuff et al. More of the same on ‘Struttin’ On Sunset’ (more input from O’Dea’s sax here), ‘Namesake Blues’ (a Ray Charles, gospel inspired flavour here) and ‘Sweet Dreams’ (a lovely bossa with a catchy melody)… great stuff, even the oddly-named ‘Fried Chicken Enema’ offers real charms.

The album’s just been released and as October is Mental Health Awareness Month in Australia, the band is donating ten per cent of money from the record to the mental health charity, BeyondBlue.

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