A Wichita native now based in New York, Greg Skaff is a talented guitarist and composer versatile enough to have played sessions with the likes of Bobby Watson, Ruth Brown, and Freddie Hubbard. But as a leader, he favors the classic trio format of guitar, B-3 organ, and drums, whipping up variations on a soul-jazz groove inspired by the late Stanley Turrentine, with whom Skaff had a lengthy stint early in his career. As such, there's a core element of blues and funk in Skaff's music, but he carries it far afield on the strength of virtuoso guitar work ranging from clear delineations of melodies, to bop-like rapid-fire forays skittering among billowy organ lines, and even to the brink of rock 'n' roll. The last crops up on a cover of Fiona Apple's "Fast As You Can" on Skaff's newest, East Harlem Skyline (Zoho), also featuring the other members of his working trio: drummer E.J. Strickland and organist George Colligan. Skaff's arrangement of the Apple tune actually roams to jazz-rock, swing, funk—even tango, with hints of lots of other stuff. Elsewhere Skaff evokes Wes Montgomery, Coltrane, and Brazilian guitar master Luiz Bonfa, while Colligen and Strickland help fire up a restless cohesion that bristles with tasty energy. 18+.
Fridays, Saturdays, 9 p.m. Starts: April 3. Continues through April 4, 2009