Charles Earland

Funk Fantastique

For sheer musical excitement, it’s hard to top the punch a Hammond B-3 organ combo packs. Back in the ’30s the B-3 was featured in groups led by Milt Buckner (ex-Lionel Hampton), “Wild” Bill Davis (ex-Louis Jordan) and Bill Doggett (who replaced Davis in Jordan’s Tympany Five). Doggett’s 1956 78 rpm recording of “Honky Tonk, Parts 1 and 2,” a megahit on juke boxes coast to coast, helped fuel interest in the B-3 and remains a bar band staple to this day. That same year Jimmie Smith hit the Big Apple with his trio and amazed everyone with his killer attack and technique—he not only played the keyboard at dazzling speeds but provided the bass lines (“kickin’ the B”) as well. Smith’s popularity influenced numerous pianists to switch over, among them Jimmy McGriff, in whose combo Charles Earland played tenor sax. It wasn’t long before Earland (1941-99) moved over to the B-3, eventually earning the nickname “The Mighty Burner.” He definitely lives up to that billing on these 1971-73 dates with horns and blows the lid off on the title track.