Vince “The Prince” Seneri might be a name that sounds like it should be attached to a movie character played by Nicholas Cage, and Vince even looks a little like him, but knowledgeable fans know that he’s a talented organist who has spent the last couple of decades building a solid reputation in the jazz world. His newest album, The Prince’s Groove, will entertain and delight those fans, and is likely to make a few new ones too.
Seneri is considered to be one of the best Hammond B3 organists around, with an extensive background as a performer and leader, and has generated several successful albums. He names the legendary Jimmy Smith as his inspiration – as do many other organists – but he has the keyboarding skills to back it up.
He also shows his idol’s knack for surrounding himself with first-class musicians, in Vince’s case the outstanding guitarist Paul Bollenback, along with other guests, including Randy Brecker on trumpet, saxophonist Houston Person, and flautist Dave Valentin. And even though Vince is the star here, he’s smart enough to let the others have their moments in the spotlight too., resulting in some of the best tracks on the album.
A good example is the group’s enormously satisfying take on a standard, “The Nearness Of You,” which showcases Person’s smoothly soaring sax while Seneri mostly just provides support until late in the piece. Similarly, “Dearly Beloved” gives guitarist Bollenback a chance to show his talent level – which is very high – while the others mostly provide support.
But although those tracks were two of my favorites, Veneri is still the leader and the main man here, and he saves plenty of space for his own keyboard work. His play on one of my all-time Latin favorites, “Sway (Quien Sera),” is nothing short of amazing, and combined with Valentin’s dancing flute and Bollenback’s guitar, create what is to me the best piece on the album.
But there are plenty of other good listens here, including the slow and bluesy “Walkin’,” and several nice originals written by Seneri, among them the title tune, which allows guest trumpeter Randy Brecker to shine. Overall, a solid recommendation for this album.
Sound samples available at artist’s website.