Press Reviews

Pat Mallinger with Dan Trudell - Dragon Fish
Chicago Jazz Magazine, Hrayr Attarian, March, 2010
Dragon FishSaxophone and piano duet albums have a long and venerable tradition in jazz. From Sidney Bechet and Martial Solal to Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond, and most famously Mal Waldron and Steve Lacy, these records run the gamut from trad jazz to free improvisations. The latest entry into this catalogue is Pat Mallinger and Dan Trudell's Dragon Fish. The ten pieces are set up as a relaxed intelligent conversation between two friends. Mallinger is a multi-reedist who is equally skilled on flute and three saxophones - soprano, alto and tenor - while Trudell is a unique voice on the piano. The two are very compatible in their musical vision.

The tracks run the range from the modal and expansive improvisations on "Diffuse," the funkier beats of "Pigeon Peas" and from the quiet melancholy of "Dear James" to the subtly tender "Madeline's Lullaby." Although the record is issued under Mallinger's name, both musicians are equal partners in the creative process of interpretation and improvisation (though Mallinger composed most of the tunes).

The music bears a strong imprint of Western classical music, yet does not lose the freer aspects of jazz. Mallinger's sound on the alto is reminiscent of Lee Konitz, and his flute is airier more ethereal than the muscular sounds of hard bop flutists mainstream jazz listeners are used to. Dan Trudell's pianism is so ethereal, yet intelligent and substantial, that listening to him the first time on this session it is hard to guess that he is also a soulful and gritty Hammond B3 organist.

The variety tempos and moods keep the music interesting across the entire CD, although the solos do get a tad monotonous on few of the songs. This, however, is a minor issue as the superior musicianship of the two players and their comfort in each other's company, keep the music interesting and intriguing.

Personnel: Pat Mallinger: saxophones, flute; Dan Trudell: piano.

Dragon Fish
All About Jazz, Matthew Warnock, Jan. 23, 2010
Dragon FishDragon Fish is a dazzling collaboration between saxophonist Pat Mallinger and pianist Dan Trudell. Though Mallinger's name is featured on the cover, there really is no clear leader on the record as both musicians play off of each other as they engage in an emotional and intellectually stimulating musical conversation. Exploring myriad combinations of timbre, tone and texture, Mallinger and Trudell bring forth just about every possible nuance that could be found in a woodwind-piano duo situation. Even without the driving force of double-bass and drums, these two seasoned veterans perform with the intensity and intrigue that can only come by spending years together on the bandstand.

All of the tracks are written by Mallinger with the exception of "Diffuse" and "Adventures," which are collaborative efforts between the pianist and saxophonist. Though firmly rooted in post-bop style of jazz, exemplified in tunes such as "CPW" an acronym for the John Coltrane tune "Central Park West" on which it is based, the duo weaves their way in and out of the different shades of modern jazz. Tunes such as "Just Give it a Chance" and "Pigeon Pease" are a solid mix of innovation and tradition, helping to avoid the monotony that often occurs with album-length duo collaborations.

As soloists, both Mallinger and Trudell are incredibly adept on their instruments and effortlessly comfortable with the harmonic layout of every tune. Both of these enviable traits allow the duo to explore the tunes at a higher level, going behind the harmony into the realms of tonal color, timbre and rhythmic interaction. Without this heightened sense of musicality, and the duo's ability to interact, the album surely would not have been so successful.

Tunes such as "Hills Over Tuscany" fall more into the realm of sonic paintings then they do blowing sessions. Listening to the soft touch of Mallinger's flute and the anticipatory nature of Trudell's accompaniment conjures up the rolling hills of this picturesque region of central Italy. This adds to the depth and quality of the music in a way that may not have been possible had the record been done with a larger ensemble.

Dragon Fish is a welcomed addition to the jazz duo catalogue. Featuring strong conversational interaction, intellectually stimulating harmonic vocabulary and a solid sense of melody, these two Midwestern musicians not only pay homage to the great duo albums of the past, but make their own memorable contribution to the genre.

Track listing: CPW; Just Give it a Chance; Hills Over Tuscany; Dragon Fish; Diffuse; Camp Dan; Dear James; Pigeon Peas; Adventures; Madeline's Lullaby.

Personnel: Pat Mallinger: saxophones, flute; Dan Trudell: piano.

Chicago Jazz Festival 2009
Dan is part of the final act of the Chicago Jazz Festival on the Petrillo Stage in Grant Park. The festival has commissioned Muhal Richard Abrams to create a new composition entitled, "Spiralview," which will be dedicated to President Barack Obama. Spiralview features three special soloists sections including George Lewis playing solo trombone; Ari Brown (saxophone) and Harrison Bankhead (bass) in a duet performance; and Roscoe Mitchell playing solo saxophone. The World premiere of "Spiralview" will be performed at 8:30pm on Sunday.

Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune says...
Chicago Tribune, Dec 26, 2008
Chicago audiences may think of Trudell as a virtuoso of the Hammond B-3 organ (which he is), but he also happens to be a dexterous pianist, as anyone who has heard him with Jeff Lindberg's Chicago Jazz Orchestra knows.

Organ Quartet had a Blast, but the Solos Really Soared
Chicago Tribune, Nov 26, 2007
Chicago organist Trudell also distinguished himself, his extended solos beautifully constructed to build inexorably toward rousing climaxes. The strange and exotic harmonic regions he explored in the ballad "These Foolish Things" and the near-virtuoso finger work he showed in Thelonious Monk's "Evidence" attested to the breadth of his skill.

Chicago Jazz Festival
Time Out Chicago / Issue 131 : August 30, 2007 - September 5, 2007
The feel-good vibe put out by B3 organist Trudell and company is the best argument they have for those looking for a reason to hear them. Trudell plays with Sabertooth late on Saturday nights at the Green Mill, but this show drags him out into the harsh light of day. His stroboscopic playing seems more suited to sunshine anyway.

Critic's Choice
Chicago Reader Author: Neil Tesser Date: February 2, 2007
When Green Mill owner Dave Jemilo bought a second Hammond B-3 last year, he must have had nights like this in mind: the city's two leading jazz-organ men going head-to-head, pedals to the metal. Dueling organs come up a lot less often than almost any other instrumental matchup, since a single B-3 (with its multiple keyboards and timbres) can mimic half an orchestra. But Dan Trudell and Chris Foreman make fine sparring partners. Foreman, anchor of the Deep Blue Organ Trio and Henry Johnson's Organ Express, was inspired by Jack McDuff and Jimmy McGriff, the iconic "second wave" organists who followed the pioneering Jimmy Smith, so his florid lines simmer with blues. That contrasts neatly with Trudell's expansive solos, which emphasize the less ornamented, less bluesy approach of Larry Young and, more recently, Larry Goldings. They'll be joined by Andy Brown on guitar and Greg Rockingham on drums, but I'm guessing those guys will be lucky to get a solo in edgewise. a 8 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway, 773-878-5552, $10.

Who's Who Chicago Pianists
jazz pianist/organist plays with his trio (which includes drummer George Fludas and bassist Bob Siegal) at many of Chicago's important jazz venues, from Evanston's Pete Miller's Steakhouse to the Green Mill. WXRT's Barry Winograd calls their music "exuberant, exhilarating and musically exciting."
They have a recording entitled, Song of Happiness, which also includes Joel Adams, Art Davis, and Jerry DiMuzio. "If you love jazz piano," says Erv Jezek of WDCB-FM, "the CD Song of Happiness is a must have for your collection.

PopMatters Music Short Takes July 19, 2004
B3 Bombers Featuring Clyde Stubblefield, Live! at the Green Mill (Alltribe)
Dan Trudell and his B3 Bombers perform a live set at Chicago's Green Mill with James Brown drummer Clyde Stubblefield in tow. Stubblefield ably provides the funky drumming he is best known for, but the group plays a variety of grooves here, including soul jazz, straight ahead swing, blues, and rock. There's plenty of room for every member of the band to stretch out and solo, and everyone sounds good. Particularly noteworthy are trombonist Joel Adams' workout on the Trudell original "Cumulus Day" and Pat Mallinger's alto work on the opener, "Surrey Lane." Stubblefield steps out as vocalist on the James Brown number "Make It Funky" (not really a lot of singing, but still good) and the B.B. King number "Sweet Sixteen," which also allows Mike Standal to show what he can do with a twelve bar blues. There's nothing here that hasn't been done before, but when it's done this well, it reminds you of just how great a sweaty summer evening in a small club can be when a band that can play blues and funk this well is on the bandstand. By the time Trudell, Stubblefield, and the rest of the band bring the final track, "Baskin' In It" in for a landing, you'll wish you had been at the Green Mill on this August night.
- Marshall Bowden

CD Review March 24, 2003
Instrumentally, organist Dan Trudell, who has worked weekly gigs at the Green Mill since the early 1990s as part of The Sabertooth Organ Quartet with alto saxophonist Pat Mallinger, is the grease that turns the Bombers' wheels. His low-down, but buoyant tones provide the rhythmic impetus and melodic underpinning for most of the tunes, three of which he wrote himself. Considering that Trudell's Chi-Town experience includes work with such Ur-jazz/funksters as tenor saxist Von Freeman and guitarist Bobby Broom, that shouldn't come as much of a surprise. His most impressive showcase is on his own "Cumulus Day," where his breezy, arpeggio-rich style brings to mind Swing/R&B groovemeisters like Jimmy McGriff and Wild Bill Davis. He knows he has two keyboards and makes plenty of use of them, while Stubblefield holds down the bottom throughout.

Dudes who likes to jazz it up
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Aug. 7 2003
Band name

Who's Your Daddy?

Who's who

guitarist Mike Standal, drummer Dave Bayles, Hammond B3 organist Dan Trudell. We spoke to Dan.

When formed

"All of us had been playing around the local jazz scene. I worked a lot with Dave about three years ago. And about a year later we began playing with Mike."

Most recent album

"No album yet, but we'll have one out by the end of the year."

They say they sound like

"Straight-ahead be-boppers who aren't afraid to indulge in guilty pleasures ranging from the theme from 'Star Wars' to Queen's 'Another One Bites the Dust' to the Zombies' 'Time of the Season.' "

We say they sound like

Pretty much all of the above, but with generous doses of '60s and '70s blues and blues-rock to boot.

Describe your look

"Sexy out-of-shape guys in their mid-30s."

Sell yourself in 20 words or less

"We're really, really good; we really, really rock; and we really, really, really like to jam out. Dude."

Favorite food on the road

"The Six-Point Brat Stop, a guy who has a mobile grill he parks around E. North Ave. at night and after bar close."

Official band beverage

"Dave likes the Red Bull, I like beer. And Mike likes the hard stuff. But occasionally we all bond over many glasses of sake."

What other band or musician could you take in a fight?

"We could easily take Medeski, Martin & Wood."

First gig

"Last September at The Estate" (an east side jazz club).

Song you've written that you're most proud of

"Eskimo Pie."

Favorite cover song in your live show

"Time of the Season."

Biggest band achievement

"Uh, it's yet to happen."

What's the greatest song ever written?

"Anything ever written by J.S. Bach."

Why do you do this?

"For the glory."

Where do you want to be in five years?

"Fishing - but after completing several world tours."

Next gig

Who's Your Daddy holds down a house gig every Thursday at The Estate, 2423 N. Murray Ave. ($4). Trudell also plays with another soul-jazz outfit, The B3 Bombers, featuring Standal and former James Brown drummer Clyde Stubblefield; the Bombers play the Estate at 9:30 tonight ($10).
- Nick Carter

Live Jazz in Spotlight Published: January 24, 2003
B3 Bombers
Live at the Green Mill
Alltribe Records ATRO724

Live at the Green Mill (the Green Mill being the home base for such notable song stylists as Patricia Barber and Kurt Elling. Invading this hallowed ground like a hot Delta day are the B3 Bombers, who lay waste to everything in their path with high funk sanctification. Lead by drummer Clyde Stubblefield (of NPR's Whaddaya Know fame) grounds a crack septet of like-minded funkmiesters. If Stubblefield provides the beat, B3 specialist Dan Trudell provides the grease and guitarist Mike Standal the fire to heat it with. Add the holy trinity of alto and tenor sax and trombone and you have a heaping plate of soul food, steamy and fine. James Brown's "Make it Funky" has Stubblefield providing the godfather's vocal part in a fine manner. Stubblefield proves he can sing the blues on a corrosive "Sweet Sixteen," Standal's staggering guitar propelling the song to its zenith (check out trombonist Joel Adams's duet with Stubblefield and subsequent solo-intense). Dan Trudell's "Cumulus Day" is a tip to "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" sure to please, like the rest of this very fine recording. Visit the B3Bombers and Alltribe Records.

Critic's Choice
Chicago Reader Author: Neil Tesser Date: May 10, 2002
This septet, engineered to pivot around Chicago keyboardist Dan Trudell's sturdy Hammond B-3 organ, cranks out a whole lotta funk and just as much fun. Trudell is probably best known for his Sunday-morning services at the Green Mill: from midnight till 4:30 AM he anchors the Sabertooth Organ Quartet, spreading motile comp work behind the band's dual saxophone front men and bubbling up into swirling, expansive solos of his own. (At times he reminds me of Larry Young, and I can think of no higher compliment for an organist.) For the Bombers, Trudell has borrowed one of the Sabertooth's saxists, Pat Mallinger, heard here on alto; added New York tenorist Doug Lawrence, guitarist Mike Standal, and trombonist Joel Adams; and tweaked the mix with occasional contributions from a rapper who calls himself, humbly enough, "Elo Heem." But it's the presence of drummer Clyde Stubblefield--famed for driving late-60s James Brown classics like "Cold Sweat," "Say It Loud," and "Funky Drummer"--that makes the real difference. With devastating fills and unexpected polyrhythms, Stubblefield ruthlessly exploits the beat he helped invent in his days with Brown, in the process marrying the Bombers to the roots of their chosen form with a directness unique among latter-day funk outfits. With their darkened harmonies and Trudell's baggy, low-slung bass lines, the Bombers occasionally nod to the jam-band scene--but they don't cross the line into the flattened, affectless posturing that mars so much of its music. In general they hew to the sharper, cleaner edge of more traditional funk, informed by the saxophonists' strong jazz backgrounds, and Stubblefield's incisive strokes lead the charge. The Bombers have just released their debut disc, Live at the Green Mill (Alltribe); they return to the scene of the crime for these CD-release gigs. Friday, May 10, 9 PM, and Saturday, May 11, 8 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway; 773-878-5552.

Mike Allemana Organ Trio
Downbeat Magazine April 2001 by Frank-John Hadley
Singer Tuey Connell's new record label, TuConn, would like nothing better than have jazz folks (and, sure, Medeski Martin & Wood fans too) around the world hear Mike Allemana's group with Dan Trudell, possibly the best organ player now working in Chicago. Dan Trudell, only in his mid-30's plays music in the classy company of guitarist Allemana and drummer Mike Schlick that's rooted in Jimmy Smith but seems strikingly fresh. Relying on unusual drawbar settings and using his left foot to walk bass lines, he has an attack and creativity in solos and accompaniment that reveal both honest revelation and wry humor inside the material collected for the Trio's album. Trudell zooms right off into a dither racing the tempo of "Herzog," a Bobby Hutcherson composition. But, as heard in many places, his electric organ contains and indefinite multitude of shadings and niceties also.