KOMBO: This Is The Good One (Shanachie)

Kombo is an instrumental duo comprising Hammond B3 player Ron Pedley and guitarist John Pondel who first came together via their mutual love and respect for soul and jazz, working in the band, Uncle Festive. They then went their separate ways and between them they ended up working with people like Aretha Franklin, Barry Manilow, Dionne Warwick, Air Supply, Gerald Wilson, Maynard Ferguson, Paul Anka and Al Jarreau. In 1999, the pair reunited as Kombo, the idea being to create a band that could offer a contemporary spin on classic soul-jazz in the manner of, say Jimmy Smith, Wes Montgomery etc.

Kombo have a couple of albums under their belt and their third, ‘This Is The Good One’ has just won release. The album consists of ten originals and one cover – a treatment of Curtis Mayfield’s classic Chicago song, ‘It’s All Right’. The Kombo team treat it with respect – why meddle with something so wonderful? They deliver it with all its iresistible sass and jauntiness. It’s bound to make you smile – just like the Impressions’ original.

Maybe because of its familiarity, ‘It’s All Right’ is an album highlight. Others to offer an instant grab, include the LP’s title track, the tougher ‘Wind It Up’, ‘Pass A God Time’ (a proper soul-jazz throwback) and the sweet bossa nova, ‘Hiromi’s Rose’, penned by John in tribute to his girlfriend Hitomi… like we said, “sweet”!

On the album, the Kombo twosome are assisted by long-time collaborators, bassist Matt Bissonnette and drummer Gregg Bissonnette, who both played with Pedley in Maynard Ferguson’s band. The percussionists are David Rozenblatt and Luis Conte while The Fat City Horns offer delightful brass work – especially on the swinging ‘It’s All Right’.

Been a while since we’ve had new Kombo music. They say that this one is a good ‘un. Investigate yourself to see if they’re right … out now via Shanachie. .

(BB) 3/5