Cecil Brooks III / Gene Ludwig Double Exposure

This unassuming little session — recorded during some leftover studio time after the principals finished work on a Jimmy Ponder album — sounds better than many a weightier, more pre-planned date. Gene Ludwig is a 68-year-old Pittsburgh native who saw a Jimmy Smith performance when he was a teenager and didn’t look back: since then he’s played organ with Sonny Stitt, Pat Martino and Arthur Prysock, among others, and he’s one of the few survivors nowadays from the golden age of the B-3. Ludwig brings a playful touch to these duets with drummer Cecil Brooks III — he likes whimsical tunes like "Tea for Two” and "On the Trail” — but there’s also some throbbing balladry, a nifty Stevie Wonder cover, and the purring minor-key blues that gives the album its title. (Chungeorahm)