• Ben Lee

The Mabgate Organ Trio - From The Mabgate Basement (Album Review)

The Mabgate Organ Trio

From The Mabgate Basement

10 December 2020

Tight Lines Records


Album Rating 4.5 / 5

Live Potential 4 / 5

Solo Performances 5 / 5

Favourite Songs Steep Steps, Fives, D.I. Silverton

Showcasing flavours from jazz, instrumental funk and blues, Leeds group The Mabgate Organ Trio release their debut album today through Leeds label Tight Lines. The trio snarl with riffs that take flight and flow easily together, never too flashy but always mixed with grooves that sneak and creep up on you between enveloping improvisation.


'Hands:Face' outro really captures what draws you into The Mabgate Organ Trio's sound, with a tight phrasing from the organ and guitar that repeats and arpeggiates with layers gently increasing the intensity of their sound. Whilst the album feels mostly at the same pace throughout, it is a short album and it never feels repetitive around the similar tempos, but encouraging for the trio to create different grooves.


With a sound that can sit anywhere between 70s jazz-funk of Herbie Hancock to late 60s psychedelic sound of Emerson, Lake & Palmer and The Doors, the organ really makes you hear the space that allows their grooves to breathe in, felt particularly so in 'D.I. Silverton' where Nico Widdowson has a beautifully haunting solo. Their musical blend of Ethio jazz, organ grooves, psyche funk sounds and cinematic flavours gives an alternative to the standard organ jazz trio format.

Having spent the past few years playing gigs and residencies weekly across Leeds and the surrounding area, The Mabgate Organ Trio were faced with a problem when the UK national lockdown was introduced in March 2020. The trio decided to retreat to their own shared basement to record their first body of original music which they wrote, recorded and mixed all From the Mabgate Basement. The album explores and builds upon their wealth of musical knowledge and experience in an ode to the material played in their weekly residencies in the jazz bars and basements of Leeds.


Their single 'Fives', which received airplay from Jazz FM last month, has a hypnotic guitar riff from Ed Allen that allows Richard Moulton to groove out on the drums between the stabs with some funky ghost note patterns. 'Steep Steps' is little more manic and Widdowson's organ amplifies this feeling as it seares through; this technique from Widdowson comes out again in 'Linda' to change up the dynamics. 'KBD' is a little spooky and feels particularly Ethio-inspired with it's deep sound matched by Alex Fisher's saxophone that blasts through.


The album feels really succinct and the trio never seem to get too caught up with their solos which makes the whole record really tight. The flow between groove and improvisation is uncomplicated and this is down to the trio's understanding of each other - From The Mabgate Basement is a fantastic and confident debut.

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