Though he only picked up the Hammond B-3 after moving to Chicago from his native Philadelphia in 2004, keyboardist Ben Paterson proved a quick study. He played piano in the working band of tenor great Von Freeman between 2005 and 2012, and his first gig on organ featured Von's brother George on guitar—not a bad pedigree to be a part of. But it was organist Chris Foreman who had the biggest impact on him, and Paterson is finally demonstrating his B-3 skills on record with the impressive new For Once in My Life
(Origin), which was cut with the magnificent rhythm section of drummer George Fludas and guitarist Peter Bernstein, the latter arguably the best organ-combo player working. Paterson works solidly within the format's tradition, bringing churchy fervor, voicelike swells, and strong blues phrasing to a nice mixture of pop and jazz standards along with a few originals that fit right in. Plus his background in piano helps him avoid excess grease as his sleek lines skirt the mawkish drama of "Cry Me a River" or precisely outline the fleet shapes of Horace Silver's "Nutville." Paterson, who moved to New York three years ago, returns leading the same combo from the record, which will definitely keep the Green Mill at a fever pitch.