Guitarist extraordinaire Corey Christiansen displays a crisp attack with scorching solos on Outlaw Tractor, a disc full of no-nonsense, organ-based, groovy jazz. Christiansen, who is also a well-known educator and author of guitar-related instructional material, recruits the talents of organist Pat Bianchi to create a rollicking vibe reminiscent of the classic pairing of Wes Montgomery and Jimmy Smith in the 1960s.
The irresistible boogaloo, “Down Time,” and Larry Young-style blues waltz, “Carefree,” set the tone of the session with extended, blues-based bop from Christiansen, Bianchi and saxophonist David Halliday. With traces of the late sax giant Eddie Harris, Halliday sets the pace to the funky “When You Want,” a clear-cut piece with a slightly angular theme. “Starstepper” showcases the quartet’s penchant for straight-ahead blowing, especially from Christiansen, and a tireless pulse from drummer Matt Jorgensen.
Jorgensen, a diverse drummer who is able to shift musical gears easily, lays down an unsympathetic backbeat on the title track, and kicks things into high gear on the up-tempo swing of “Big Kids,” featuring an explosive solo from Bianchi. The funk returns once more, to end the disc with the craftily titled “The Penguins Deserve Better.” Here, Christiansen shows off his rock chops, with a wah-wah pedal tastefully thrown in for good measure.
With every tune a winner, Outlaw Tractor is a fun-filled ride, full of irresistible grooves from a quartet that is rock-solid.