Brian Auger & the Oblivion Express, Sacramento, 2016

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Keyboardist Brian Auger and guitarist/vocalist Alex Ligertwood lead the Oblivion Express on the Torch Club stage.

Brian Auger and his Oblivion Express brought Hammond B3 organ jazz and soul to Sacramento’s Torch Club Friday night.

Auger’s 1974 “Straight Ahead” LP was part of the soundtrack of my college years in Long Beach and even today I can still hear his haunting take on Wes Montgomery’s “Bumpin’ on Sunset” blaring from my 1965 Chevy Impala’s sound system as I “bumped” along Sunset in Hollywood to catch sets by Weather Report, Return to Forever, John McLaughlin and Shakti  and the Billy Cobham/George Duke Band at the Roxy and other Los Angeles clubs.

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Highlights from the Torch Club set included the opening tribute to one of Auger’s early influences, B3 maestro Jimmy Smith, who once called Sacramento home. There was also a very danceable version of Eddie Harris’ “Freedom Jazz Dance,” along with the aforementioned “Bumpin’ on Sunset” played in memory of the late Keith Emerson of Emerson Lake and Palmer, and a drum solo by Auger’s son Karma during an unexpected take on John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme.”

Photographs copyright Ken Hunt and Whole Earth Images.

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