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Odell Brown & The Organ-izers

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Biography

In the world of 1960’s Hammond organ grooves, the tune ‘No More Water In The Well’ by Odell Brown and the Organizers looms large. Long a favorite of funk and soul collectors, that 45 is one of that groups best. However the group’s catalogue goes a lot deeper than that. Between 1966 and 1970 Odell Brown (with and without the Organizers) recorded a series of excellent albums for Chicago’s Cadet records. Along with some of Cadets best producers and arrangers (including the brilliant Richard Evans), Brown and his band laid down some of the most sophisticated and exciting soul jazz of the day.

Formed initially in 1961, when the members were students at Tennessee State A&M University, the group broke up (after Brown was drafted) and reformed in Chicago in 1966.

Featuring Odell Brown on organ, Artee ‘Duke’ Payne on tenor sax, alto sax and flute, Tommy Purvis on tenor sax, Curtis Prince on drums and Master Henry Gibson on congas (supplemented by numerous Chess/Cadet session players like Phil Upchurch), the group laid down three LP’s, and three 45’s (one non-LP), with Brown doing one solo album for Cadet after their dissolution.

Unlike many organ-led bands of the day, Brown and the Organizers stayed away from greasy, blues-based jams, working instead in a jazzier mode. This was in large part due to the playing of Payne, who added a sharp, Coltrane-influenced ‘inside/outside’ feel to his playing. One of the group’s trademarks is the unison playing of Payne and Purvis. In fact, the saxes are as important (sometimes more so) to the group’s sound than Brown’s organ.

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