from The Phoenix – August 2, 2006 by Sam Pfeifle
Morgan Fogg & Grimmett, like Medeski Martin & Wood, eschew the comma on their debut release together, but they embrace the period on This Is What You Want. Seriously, it’s got a period at the end of the title, which is why that period you see at the end of that sentence is technically in italics (also causing serious dilemma as to whether that sentence should have ended with two periods — it was just too silly to actually do).
After the first track, you might even think they were headed MMW’s way musically. “Blues for Steve” opens like Steely Dan’s “Reeling in the Years” but without the bite, and guitarist Scott Morgan (Tribe Describe) doesn’t get too carried away in trying to imitate the song’s title, leaving us with an interesting extended solo to sink our teeth into early. Plus, you’ve got to love the tone of pianist Matt Fogg’s organ (I’m pretty sure it’s a Wurlitzer, but he plays Fender Rhodes and Hammond C3 here as well, and I’m not going put myself all the way out there).
But on track two, “Bottle Down,” when vocalist Cheri Gaudet Grimmett (Tribe Describe, too) makes her debut, it’s clear this trio-plus aren’t going to be quite that adventurous, though they do get a little bit Santana on “Huntin’.” Shawn Boissoneault goes with the brushes, and Grimmett does the lounge-singer thing.
From there on out, the album is something of a mixed bag. Rock elements from Morgan are interspersed with more-jazzy solos from clarinetist Brad Terry and flautist Carl Dimow (Casco Bay Tummelers), and Fogg’s piano and organ takes are certainly virtuosic, but the album has a hard time establishing a rhythm with a wide variety of song styles, including a cut that opens with a decidedly Middle Eastern vibe.
As a jazz album, this is very mainstream accessible, and at times ambitious, benefiting especially from original cuts instead of the standards that populated the last release from Fogg, Live at the Azure Cafe. But I’m not totally sold on the songwriting, either — “Go Down Moses”? “Pharaoh, let my people go.”