JIM VINER’S INCREDIBLE B3 BAND: Comango (Pravda Music)

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Jim Viner is an American drummer and veteran of countless sessions. He’s also worked on numerous TV, ad and movie soundtracks and with a coterie of fellow sessioneers he’s formed The Incredible B3 Band. The band comprises guitarists Doug Roberson and Mike Fitzpatrick, sax man Eddie McKinley, percussionist Paul Cunliffe, string programmer Pete Whitfield and – maybe most importantly -Radoslav Lorkovic and Nate Basinger who provide the Hammond organ implicit in the band’s name.

‘Comango’ is the band’s first recording and the 11 tracker attempts (and largely succeeds) to invoke the spirit of the mighty Booker T and the MGs. Like the great Memphis group’s album offerings, ‘Comango’ offers a variety of flavours, all given a unity by the dominant B3 sound, the soul undertow and the old school feeling.

The set’s title cut opens proceedings; it’s a broody affair echoed by the later offering, ‘Smokey Johnson’. ‘Chicken Tickin” is a whole lot funkier while ‘Boracho No No’ has a Latin tilt to it. Much pacier is the set’s closing item ‘California Don’. This has 60s soul stamped all over it and if offered to the UK Northern soul fraternity , they’d be forgiven for thinking they’d dropped on some lost artefact from that golden era. Standout to me, though, is the gentle ‘Saint Paul’. It’s light and lovely with a sweet melody while the strings remind me of that great 60s pop tune ‘Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying’.

All 11 tunes are band originals and there are no vocals and maybe the overall soundscape might have been lifted by either a vocal or a well-chosen cover. Maybe that’s for the sophomore album; in the meantime, if you dig good, honest, old school soul instrumentals you could do worse than checkout ‘Comango’.

(BB) 3/5