Cookin’ Out

When Kombo’s boffo new CD of bizjazz “sides” came across the desk, I checked out the “hip” comic-book cover and went, whoa—is GRP Records, the Mother Church of Business Jazz, zooming off on a Medeski, Martin & Wood trip? Then I realized, hmm, I was down with these “cats” when they were in Uncle Festive, who backed up Barry Manilow during his “Swing Street—where the jazz cats hang out” period (1988 or so). They must’ve ditched the Baked Potato vibe for plenty of barbecue since then, ’cause this set’s slightly more nightcrawling than your typical bag of e-meter’d funk. Sure, much of it sounds like Steely Dan without Donald Fagen’s vocals, which is to say that Ron Pedley on Hammond C-3—church version of the mighty B-3—and Jon Pondel on (very Carlton-esque) guitars, pilot their Lexus neatly between Aja and Jimmy Smith’s House Party, with minimal nods to Emperor Xemu. Covers include War’s “Low Rider,” Laura Nyro’s “Stoned Soul Picnic” and Sugerloaf’s “Green Eyed Lady.” Can you dig it?