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The Jim Mullen Organ Trio


The March, 2018 gig was performed at The Talking Heads by the Jim Mullen Organ Trio, a popular performer with the members of Southampton Jazz Club.

Jim Mullen – guitar

Mike Gorman – organ

Tristan Mailliot – drums

The trio opened the show with “All The Way” a 1950s pop song made famous by Frank Sinatra. The music was written by Jimmy Van Heusen with lyrics by Sammy Cahn. It was introduced in the film The Joker Is Wild – and the film connection would prove to be a running theme throughout the evening as Jim Mullen is a film fan. The opening number was followed by “For My Lady” and played as a tribute to jazz harmonica player Toots Thielemans. Things went all Latin for the next number, which was by “Samba do Avião” (a.k.a. “Song of the Jet”, translated literally as “Airplane Samba”) Antônio Carlos “Tom” Jobim. Another film reference, this time Some Like It Hot; a 1959 American romantic comedy film set in 1929, directed and produced by Billy Wilder, starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon. The song “Stairway to the Stars” is a popular song composed by Matty Malneck and Frank Signorelli,with lyrics by Mitchell Parish. It was based on a theme from Malneck and Signorelli’s 1934 instrumental piece, “Park Avenue Fantasy”, which is the song that features on the film soundtrack and the song referenced by Jim. The first set came to a close with “After the Love Has Gone”, a 1979 hit single for Earth, Wind & Fire, written by David Foster, Jay Graydon, and Bill Champlin for the album I Am. This was the first time I had heard Jim Mullen live and the first set flew by so I was more than keen to hear what was in-store for the second set – after I had payed a visit to The Talking Heads bar.

The second set opened with the opening track, “Deep In A Dream” from the 2014 album release Catch My Drift, which I had purchased during the interval before the beer. Track four on the album is “Lonely Town”, which the trio played before another film reference track “Going Home”, which is the theme to Local Hero is a 1983 Scottish comedy-drama film written and directed by Bill Forsyth. The tune was written by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits fame. The trio slowed things down with a ballad entitled “We’ll Be Together Again”, which was beautifully played and reverentially listened to by the audience. Another album track next with Chick Corea’s “High Wire (The Aerialist)”. Chick Corea will be featuring at this year’s Malta Jazz Festival, which I have attended for the past six years but have chosen to go to Swanage instead and support Nigel Price. The second set, and the evening’s performance, ended with a jazz version of the theme music to the television show University Challlenge. I always judge an act by asking the question, “would I pay to see them again?”. In the case of this trio the answer is an emphatic yes! This was solid, almost understated, jazz playing at its best led by a congenial host, wonderful jazz guitarist, and film fan. Just as important was the support from Mike Gorman on organ and Tristan Mailliot on drums. The album Catch My Drift would be a very good place to start if you were unable to attend the evening but want to capture the flavour of the performance.