Dating keyboard players
You likely learned the name PJ Morton when he took over keyboard duties in one of music's biggest bands, Maroon 5.In 2012, Morton filled in for Maroon 5 keyboardist Jesse Carmichael, who took a two-year sabbatical from the band; it was Morton that you heard on Maroon 5's hit single "Payphone" and their most recent album, .
Morton was still in college at the time, and in an interview with Young Money HQ, called the experience "just incredible." He's also produced for a variety of other artists, including LL Cool J, Heather Headley, and Monica.With all these accomplishments, Morton has proved himself to be a truly versatile artist who can contribute to every phase of the music-making process.He can write a successful song, go on to provide keyboards and vocals for that song, and then produce the finished track - and he has seen success in each of these roles.Lewis cites Young's landmark interpretation of "Monk's Dream" from the classic Unity album as a further inspiration for his decision to devote this his first date to the music of Thelonious.Although albums memorializing Monk's music have become somewhat commonplace since the iconic pianist/composer's death, Organ Monk is most likely the very first on which the date is led by an organist.New York native, keyboardist Greg Lewis, a highly accomplished mainstay on the city's jazz, blues and funk scenes, who has earned a solid reputation for his versatile work around town in a vast variety of settings, steps out front for the first time on his debut CD Organ Monk.
Lewis' sensitive and soulful keyboard playing has made him a favorite among some of the music's finest vocalists - including blues queen Sweet Georgia Brown, jazz and soul songstress, Lezlie Harrison and ex-Brooklyn Funk Essentials singer / songwriter Stephanie Mc Kay -- and earned him a featured role on saxophonist Sam Newsome's Groove Project recording 24/7.
The band's easy swinging reading of the beautiful "Light Blue", featuring Jackson's soulful guitar, is a ringing affirmation of the group's ability to shine brightly in the classic organ trio tradition, as is their burning up tempo rendition of the not often heard "Played Twice" that features an exciting Lewis-Blackman dialogue.
The date's other nine Monk pieces each offer a different perspective on the master's work.
His arrangements of the fourteen Monk titles on the record are consciously contemporary in their originality, respecting the composer's melodic, harmonic and rhythmic voice, while using the different elements of each piece to propel the group into its own unique nexus, one where the customary divisions between soloist and accompanist are blurred, or even erased.
Beginning with "Trinkle Tinkle", one of Monk's more intricate melodic lines, Lewis' mastery of both the B 3's dual keyboards and its too often neglected bass pedals is clearly evident, as is his fearless approach to arranging for the trio, with Blackman's powerful drums doubling the intricate melody with him.
It's not hard to understand why he garnered the attention of a major act like Maroon 5, or how he impressed them enough to be made the official sixth member of the band.