Guitar Elation

Guitar Elation takes the classic organ jazz trio format of organ, guitar, and drums and supercharges it with a second guitar to celebrate the magic of jazz guitar and organ jazz in one dangerously powerful quartet. 

While Guitar Elation is a relatively new band, the members are all music veterans who have worked with each other and a variety of headliners for decades.  Danny Embrey’s vast experience includes stints with Sergio Mendes, Clare Fischer, Karrin Allyson, and many other top jazz artists. 

Todd Strait has toured with Marian McPartland, Eldar, Kevin Mahogany, and Karrin Allyson.  Todd has recorded over 100 records including 4 Grammy nominated albums. Todd and Danny have worked together in numerous bands including the highly regarded Interstring. 

Brian Baggett and Ken Lovern have been working together for over 16 years in the band OJT.  Their latest release, New Originals for the Green Lady, spent several weeks in the top 50 Jazz Week charts in early 2019.  Todd Strait was the drummer in the formative days of that group, and he is on the first OJT record that was issued in 2005. 

All of the members of Guitar Elation are composers, and their newest release, Double Live at Green Lady Lounge, features compositions from three band members, with Danny Embrey’s tunes making up the majority of the selections.  The group has been playing Thursday nights at Green Lady Lounge in Kansas City for several years now, and this recording is from one of those epic nights.  Come hear the band from 8 to 11pm every Thursday in 2020.  

Guitar Elation album cover photos and all performance photos on this website by Brian Turner.

Bill Brownlee's review from his Plastic Sax blog:

"Acquisition of the vinyl version of Double Live at Green Lady Lounge comes with a quandary.  Do listeners restrain themselves to avoid marring the two gorgeous alabaster platters, or do they accede to the mandate of Guitar Elation’s robust twist on organ jazz and let loose while enjoying the new release on their home stereos? 

As I recently suggested in The Kansas City Star, "(t)he rousing recording documents the hard-grooving attack of the quartet on original compositions like “Funkshun Junkshun.”  Guitarists Brian Baggett and Danny Embrey trade astounding solos over Ken Lovern’s funky organ riffs and the impeccable grooves laid down by the internationally renowned straight-ahead jazz drummer Todd Strait." 

The memorable melodies and aggressive solos are captured in an appropriately brawny sound field.  Full of vim and vigor, there’s nothing polite about the set recorded on August 10, 2017.  The delectable tension experienced by vinyl aficionados is mirrored by intriguing dynamics within the group.  Not only do the guitarists engage in friendly duals, Lovern and Bagget exhibit rock inclinations while Strait and Embrey are more closely rooted to the jazz tradition.  The divergence elevates Double Live at the Green Lady from run-of-the-mill organ jazz. 

The most appropriate response to the album is punching the volume knob to facilitate unhinged dance parties.  A raucous soundtrack to spilled drinks, bad decisions and day-after regrets, Double Live at the Green Lady is the next best thing to spending a carefree Thursday night at Kansas City’s most vital jazz club."