Labert Ellis played piano exclusively until he first heard the sound of the Hammond B3. He said that he spent about two weeks straight 'woodshedding' until he was able to get the feel of the organ and produce his own special sound and technique. I met Labert or 'Bert' as he was called by those who worked with him, when he moved to Compton, California in the mid sixties. We became close friends and musical colleagues. Bert was like a spider on the B3. He moved effortlessly over the entire keyboard and was one of the few jazz organists who actually played bass on the foot pedals while backing his solos with outstanding chordal compositions with his left hand. Bert could read very well and could translate any musical composition into a swinging, grooving, foot tapping excursion. He was able to improvise on any succession of chord changes in any key and at any tempo. In 1971, I had the distinct and unmatchable pleasure to work with him in a trio situation. Drummer Eddie Cowan, LaBert on the Hammond B3, and me on guitar. We played in a number of clubs for about a year and for me, it was the best therapy a record session player could have. I was able to explore the musical spectrum from A to Z and everything in between. Bert was the supreme accompanist, providing solid bass, chordal syncopation, and melodic counterpoint to every note I played. I felt that he was backing me rather than me backing him when it came to show tunes, standards, popular 'musician' jazz tunes and everything from 'bebop to ballad, swing to sweet, and blues to boogie', to borrow from famous band leader Johnny Otis' opening for his radio shows during the sixties and early seventies. We recorded this album at a time when Bert felt that the musicians that were with him at the time were the best. Johnny Kirkwood was always an innovative and solid time keeper. He could hold a tempo at any speed and provide the drive necessary to inspire creativity. Leo Blevins guitar solos and background fills and chords, heard in this collections of songs fills out all the right spaces. Bert was especially excited to record his version of Ebbtide, which features his creativity and excellent mastery over the B3's unlimited tonality.
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