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Hammond B3 Organ Phenom Kevin Coelho Celebrates 2nd CD Turn It Up

In Concert Friday, January 17 at Stanford University where Coelho is a freshman

The 18-year-old Californian – a protégé of B3 master Tony Monaco – gives the hard-grooving soul-jazz treatment to “Georgia on My Mind,” the Beatles’ “Come Together,” War’s “The World Is a Ghetto,” Prince’s “Soft & Wet” and “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”

“The essence of funk and groove.” — JazzTimes

Young Hammond B3 organ whiz Kevin Coelho celebrates the release of his second CD Turn It Up in concert on Friday, January 17 at Dinkelspiel Auditorium on the Stanford University campus where Coelho is a freshman studying computer science.  Joining Coelho are his bandmates from the CD — guitarist Derek DiCenzo and drummer Reggie Jackson — as well as Bay area trumpeter Mike Olmos, and saxophonists Charlie McCarthy and Howard Dietz.   They’ll play music from the new album as well as a set of new compositions.  The free concert takes place at 7:30 p.m.

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Coelho earned wide acclaim for his outrageously precocious debut album, 2012's Funkengruven - The Joy of Driving a B3, which he released at age 16. JazzTimes called Funkengruven "an auspicious debut" with "the essence of funk and groove," while All About Jazz described it as "both viscerally moving and intellectually satisfying."

For all the praise for his initial recorded effort, Coelho has taken man-sized strides with his second album, the aptly titled Turn It Up, just out on Chicken Coup/Summit. A feast for fans of vintage sounds, Turn It Up finds Coelho – now 18 – venturing a brace of organ-trio classics (“Georgia on My Mind,” “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” Jimmy Smith’s “Root Down”). Yet the already-enterprising organist also puts a funky soul-jazz spin on the Beatles’ “Come Together,” War’s “The World Is a Ghetto” and even Prince’s very first single, “Soft & Wet.” That’s not to mention two playful, swinging Coelho originals. For the sessions, the organist reunited with guitarist Derek DiCenzo and drummer Reggie Jackson, his partners from Funkengruven and also the usual trio mates of Coelho's mentor, B3 master Tony Monaco, who says about his protégé: "Kevin is a fascinating, brilliant young musician who is growing up fast."

With his new album, Coelho was “chasing a club vibe,” he says. “The organ in jazz is a club instrument, after all, having gotten its start on the Chitlin’ Circuit. That’s why I called it Turn It Up, because the record was meant to have that dancing spirit, that groove-to-the-music, turn-it-up vibe. While making this album, I wanted it to be fun – to make music that people would put on in the car for a long drive or something you’d play when you’ve had a hard day and want to feel better.”

Turn it Up is also earning high praise:

"Best Albums of 2013" — Ted Gioia.com

“Coelho has indeed grown since Funkengruven, but he also hasn’t lost that spirit of invention that led him to take on a not-so-hip instrument in the first place. In his adept hands, the Hammond B3 is once again a slick, absorbing, vivid, and cool instrument…” —Jordan Richardson, Canadian Audiophile

"Rick’s Pick.  17-year-old Hammond B3 organ phenomenon Kevin Coelho is back with a second funky, swinging, hard-driving trio album, again featuring guitarist Derek Dicenzo and drummer Reggie Jackson, and again featuring a nicely mixed program of originals and out-of-left-field covers (this time including tunes by Prince and the Beatles and a slightly twisted take on “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”). As before, Coelho’s chops and musical maturity belie his age, and the album is a pure joy." — Rick Anderson, CD Hotlist

 ”His program here reflects a musical palette sprinkled with variety and color; from tasty originals to classic rock, pop and standards. Most importantly, whatever the tune, he infuses it with his own style and vision; no mean feat for an artist still in his teens….Kevin Coelho and company have a sound that is certainly the real deal, but has crossover appeal as well.” — Eric Harabadian, Jazz Inside Magazine

"It’s rare for an 18 year old to have his second CD reviewed in as many years onBebop Spoken Here but, then again, there aren’t that many teenagers who can pedal a B3 like this young man does…. If you’re into B3 this is for you. If you’re not, or rather thought you weren’t, it’s still for you - because you will be - trust me!” — Lance Liddle, Bebop Spoken Here

“Killer stuff that makes you wonder what’s in the water in his neighborhood, B3 fans have got to check this out because all the promises made on his debut have been delivered and then some. Simply a dead, solid perfect session that’ll blow your ears wide open.” — Chris Spector, Midwest Record

 Along with his organ-trio work, Coelho has joined the Bay Area soul-funk band the St. Valentinez as a keyboardist, with the group playing everything from Stevie Wonder to Jay-Z. “They’re an incredible group and playing with them has really expanded my world,” he says. “I spent all my years as kid studying old jazz and records from the ’60s and ’70s, but thanks to these guys, I’ve been listening to a lot more modern R&B, rock and neo-soul, which has given me fresh ideas beyond the soul-jazz idiom. Plus, headlining clubs in the Bay Area with the St. Valentinez has made me think differently about life as a musician. There are two paths, basically. You can aim to fulfill your own intellectual curiosity with music, pursuing a vision that satisfies your creative drive first. Or you can play music for others, for an audience – in other words, be an entertainer. Of course, it’s all about balancing the two sides, experimenting and entertaining. Today, though, I’m leaning toward playing for an audience, thinking about what I’d like to hear as a listener and hoping that other people dig it, too. That was the aim with Turn It Up – I want people to dig it.”