New Jazz & Blues – 10/4/2022
New Jazz & Blues
Bobby Broom – Keyed Up (Clean Sweep Music): “Master jazz guitarist Bobby Broom casts his ear on the masters of another instrument—the piano—with the September 23 release of Keyed Up (Steele Records). An exploration of compositions by (or associated with) great jazz pianists, the album is also Broom’s first in almost 30 years to itself feature an acoustic piano player. Justin Dillard, a youngish, fast-rising keyboardist from Broom’s home base of Chicago, joins his working trio with bassist Dennis Carroll and drummer Kobie Watkins. In fact, it was an encounter with Dillard at a Chicago jam session that inspired Broom to realize the project (an idea he had long been nurturing). “I heard something intriguing in Justin that made me want to work with him,” he says. “It was a bit risky because I hadn’t played with him in such an intimate and crucial setting before we made this record. But it didn’t take long for me to know I had made the right choice.” It doesn’t take the listener long, either. Dillard’s incandescent playing is a highlight of the very first track, Bud Powell’s “Hallucinations (Budo),” and maintains that high level throughout the album. From the blues-laden lines of James Williams’s “Soulful Bill” and McCoy Tyner’s “Blues on the Corner” to the exquisite tenderness of Erroll Garner’s “Misty,” Dillard earns his place in the spotlight. He also switches to his “laptop Swurlitzer,” an electronic keyboard, in a nod to fusioneers Chick Corea (“Humpty Dumpty”) and Herbie Hancock (“Driftin’”). He’s not alone, of course. Carroll and Watkins are superlative as always, offering both sensitive support and lightning in a bottle that culminates in a spirited exchange of twelves, eights, and fours on “Blues on the Corner.” As for Broom, his excellence is understood—but he outdoes himself with his brilliant work on “Driftin’,” “Hallucinations (Budo),” and Horace Silver’s “Quicksilver.” (https://jazzguitartoday.com/2022/09/bobby-broom-is-keyed-up-with-new-album-release/) Click here to listen to “Blues On The Corner”.
Terri Lyne Carrington – New Standards Vol. 1 (Candid): “For the 2018 opening celebration of the Berklee Institute for Jazz and Gender Justice, Teri Lyne Carrington asked her students to select and perform songs from the famed jazz Real Book – a compilation of lead sheets or scores of jazz standards – written by women composers. When she released there was only one in the entire book, Carrington, a Grammy Award winning virtuoso jazz drummer, composer, inter-disciplinary artist, activist and educator, who has worked tirelessly over the last decade to advocate for inclusivity and raise the voice of women, trans and non-binary people in jazz, set out to shift the narrative. Over the next several years, Carrington assembled New Standards (Hal Leonard Sept 2022) a book of 101 jazz compositions written by women. new STANDARDS Vol. 1 captures 11 of these compositions. This star-studded recording features special guests Ambrose Akinmusire, Melanie Charles, Ravi Coltrane, Val Jeanty, Samara Joy, Julian Lage, Michael Mayo, Elena Pinderhughes, Dianne Reeves, Negah Santos and Somi, backed by a core section comprised of Carrington (drums), Kris Davis (piano), Linda May Han Oh (bass), Nicholas Payton (trumpet), and Matthew Stevens (guitar.)
The record gives listeners a sense of this project’s vast range, with contemporary composers like harpist Brandee Younger’s “Respected Destroyer,” clarinetist Anat Cohen’s “Ima,” vocalist Abbey Lincoln’s “Throw It Away” as well as pieces by Gretchen Parlato, Carla Bley and more. The recordings – which range from vocal ballads to contemporary creative music – are inspired and adventurous and explore the limitless universe of jazz. Terri Lyne Carrington began playing drums when she was seven, performed with pioneering jazz flugel hornist Clark Terry at ten, and was awarded a scholarship to the Berklee College Of Music at age eleven. Her list of credits includes the likes of Lester Bowie, Stan Getz, Woody Shaw, David Sanborn, Cassandra Wilson, Dianne Reeves, and Herbie Hancock. As a bandleader, Carrington’s triple decade spanning repertoire includes the Grammy award-winning album The Mosaic Project, Money Jungle: Provocative In Blue, and her Grammy-nominated set with Social Science titled Waiting Game. Carrington currently serves as Founder and Artistic Director of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice.” (https://candidrecords.com/products/copy-of-live-at-the-detroit-jazz-festival) Click here to listen to “Respected Destroyer” from this release.
The Jon Coward Trio – Pride And Joy (Le Coq): “Pianist/composer Jon Cowherd is known for employing a fluid language and sincere approach to the keyboard. Pride and Joy showcases his fantastic trio – with bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade – attacking eight tracks that show their powerful chemistry and technical wizardry. The album celebrates the pianist’s two-and-a-half-year-old daughter on one hand, also signaling his recent move from New York City to Grand Junction, Colorado. The opening track, “Grand Mesa” reflects this new environment – surrounded by mesas and red mountains – he currently enjoys with his family. This is the first of three pieces where the trio is augmented by two distinguished guests: the powerful saxophonist Chris Potter and the understated percussionist Alex Acuña. An out-of-time post-bop outlook prevails on the formerly described tune, as well as on “Little Scorpio”, which gently develops in seven with a perfectly singable soprano sax melody on top of a tight chordal sequence; and also on the title track, another soulful effort that crackles with energy, especially in the vamp toward the end where Potter blows with verve and stamina. Both these numbers refer to Cowherd’s daughter, Simone. Patitucci and Blade confirm their highly musical association through elegant underpinnings that elevate the trio pieces, namely Cowherd’s “The Colorado Experiments”, which, surrounded by an impressionistic aura, carries echoes of Chick Corea; and “Chickmonk”, Patitucci’s double tribute to the just mentioned pianist and Thelonious Monk. Here the trio opens up by delivering loose-limbed solos with a swinging posture. Waltzing with a dragging beat and demonstrating control at every point, “Honest Man” was written for Cowherd’s first jazz teacher, Ellis Marsalis. The album finishes in solo piano mode with “Quilt City Blues”, which Blade composed for Cowherd. Both share more than two decades of musical partnership.Rooted jazz lineage branches out in all directions over the course of a repertoire that, not being surprising, feels all the more compelling for moving effortlessly between written passages, spontaneous interactions, and individual statements.” (https://jazztrail.net/blog/jon-cowherd-trio-pride-and-joy-album-review) Click here to listen to “Honest Man (For Ellis Marsalis)” from this song.
Tracy Eileen – You Hit The Spot (Honey The Crystal Records): “On YOU HIT THE SPOT, Chicago singer TRACYE EILEEN returns to her straight-ahead jazz roots on an album of standards performed with a contemporary edge. This is Eileen’s fourth release and third full-length album. Always exploring new ways to express herself, each of her previous recordings covered different genres and stylistic approaches. Eileen launched her professional career with the release of her first straight-ahead recording, Love’s Journey (2012). She recorded the album shortly after studying at the Bloom School of Jazz in Chicago, where the owner of the school was so impressed with her talent that he briefly served as her manager, helping her hone her straight-ahead sound for her debut album. On her next album, Why Did I Say Yes? (2018), she veered away from straight-ahead jazz into soul and R&B. Then, in 2020, she released It’s Time, a smooth jazz album featuring originals co-written by Eileen on which she reflected on her journey of love as she moves through life. The album charted on several major music charts in the U.S. and abroad and was played in 67 countries on over 220 radio stations. Smooth Jazz Daily said, “The special feature of Tracye’s performance is not only her voice but also the ingenious use of her vocals in the arrangement, for which she constantly finds new approaches.”…Although she delved into various musical styles on her prior recordings, each of her albums have focused on love songs. “I’ve always been a fan of love songs,” says Eileen, “and I decided to be self-revealing, because I want my music to be authentic and real with songs that people can connect with.”
For Eileen, YOU HIT THE SPOT is a homecoming to straight-ahead jazz, which has been part of her life for as long as she can remember. Her father was a professional jazz drummer who missed an opportunity to tour with Count Basie’s band because he was drafted to serve in Vietnam. “My father, Ed Smith, an accomplished jazz percussionist, was a major influence in my life. His inspiration many years ago led to successful roles as lead singer in my high school and college jazz bands and my continued love of jazz music.” When she got older, she performed professionally with her father many times.
On YOU HIT THE SPOT, Eileen is joined by two different bands made up of some of the top jazz artists Chicago has to offer. Her trio appears on five cuts that were recorded live at PianoForte, the beautiful performance space, recording studio, and high-end piano boutique. Her band includes DENNIS LUXION (piano), PAUL MARTIN (bass), and LINARD STROUD (drums). She also brought on board Thomas Gunther to arrange and produce an additional three studio tracks, which feature JEREMY KAHN (piano), JON DEITEMYER (drums), STEWART MILLER (bass), STEVE EISEN (reeds), RAPHAEL CRAWFORD (trombone), and VICTOR GARCIA (trumpet). Associate Producer Sasha Daltonn worked with Eileen on song selection and interpretation. Daltonn is a well-known Chicago-based jazz vocalist whose one-woman show, Sasha Sings Dinah!, enjoyed long runs in Chicago and Off-Broadway. Eileen has always been attracted to the great vocalists from an earlier era, like Nancy Wilson, Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen McRae, Billie Holiday and Nina Simone because of their extraordinary ability to tell stories through music. Indeed, for Eileen, there is no difference between singing and storytelling, and she approaches a song much like an actor approaches a role. She analyzes each song by writing a narrative about it. Once she settles on the details, she tailors her vocals to fit the story arc of the song. Although Eileen’s sound is reminiscent of her idols, her style is soulful, bluesy, and modern.” (https://thejazzworld.com/tracye-eileen-album-you-hit-the-spot-out-now/) Click here to listen to “You Hit The Spot”.
Michael Fiorino /Ensemble 456 – Another Voyage (Singular Vision Music): “After finding success as a bassist for several Chicago area and national acts, Michael Fiorino releases his debut album as a leader, composer, and arranger on Michael Fiorino/Ensemble 456. The release features a blend of big band style jazz with a smoother and more traditional sound, performed by Michael on bass alongside his band, Ensemble 456. Their combined sound has been compared to the likes of the Dave Pell Octet, The Crusaders, and Chuck Mangione. Fiorino got his start performing with local Chicago musicians as well as national artists such as Roger Williams, Bill Holman, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell, and Rich Little, among others. Most notably, Fiorino accompanied Grammy-nominated Chicago jazz pianist and vocalist Judy Roberts, and he is featured on her two highly-acclaimed albums on the Inner City label. On Michael Fiorino/Ensemble 456, Fiorino is joined by his 7-piece band, Ensemble 456, made up of Bobby Schiff (Mel Torme, Peggy Lee) on keyboards, David Berger (Albert King, Otis Clay) on guitar, and David Kovnat (Bobby Rydell, Golden Boys of Bandstand, Franz Jackson) on drums. They are accompanied by Rich Lapka (The Buckinghams, Sonia Dada, Juggular) on trombone, Michael Levin (Bernard Purdie, Oscar Brown, Jr.) on saxophones and flute, and David Katz (Louie Bellson, Orchestra 33, Dave Davenport) on trumpet. The only vocal piece on the album is “Undertow,” featuring Gingi Lahera (Bradley Williams, Mike Allemana, Model Citizens Big Band) on vocals. By infusing a dash of pop into a modern jazz album, Fiorino has successfully fostered a “distinctive, yet familiar” sound,” which he hopes will “remind you of all the music you’ve always loved, regardless of the genre.” While the influences of artists such as BB King are clear, inspiration from The Beatles, Cream, and Jimi Hendrix also shines through on several tracks such as “Undertow” and “Blues for Lampedusa.” Mark McKenzie of The McKenzie Duo says of the album, “The writing is great, the arrangements sparkle, great solos, and a solid groove throughout… There’s a lot of variety here, but still a solid musical identity.” The recording is also an audiophile’s delight, as it features Jim Reeves (Johnny Winter, Edgar Winter, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Peter Asher, Bobby Vinton) in the engineer’s chair.” (https://www.michaelfiorino.com/ensemble-456-2/) I regret no samples from this release at this time.
Steve Knight – Persistene (SteveKnight) :Yet another guitar-led trio, this one by Kansas-born, Chicago-based Steve Knight who also writes in the manner of one of his role models, George Benson (Knight composed seven of the album’s dozen numbers including two versions of “Sharps Disposal”). Although the recording’s title refers in part to the eighteen months it took Knight to write the song “Persistence,” it could well signify how difficult it is for jazz musicians to make a decent living these days or to find a record label willing to endorse their enterprise. Knight says he is most impressed by Benson’s ability to make his music “accessible [to] a general audience.” Persistence is certainly accessible, as Knight takes the melodic reins and hangs onto them for most of the session’s fifty-four minutes. His teammates, bassist Justin Peterson and drummer Jeff Stitely, are by and large low-profile but no less indispensable. This is, after all, a trio, and Knight leans heavily on Peterson and Stitely for support. They are there when he needs them, and solo with assurance when summoned to step forward.
Knight’s compositions are pleasant enough (six of the album’s first seven numbers are his) without rising far above that level. When playing, his style is technically proficient—as one would expect from someone who started playing guitar at age twelve—with flashes of Benson vying with riffs from Wes Montgomery, Grant Green and Jim Hall, among others. While Knight does have some artistic designs of his own, it is hard to single them out from the deep-seated homage to his mentors. Besides Knight’s compositions and another by Peterson (“Art’s Rant”), there are covers of Pat Martino’s “Cisco,” Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” and “Change the World,” first performed by Wynonna Judd and later a pop hit for Eric Clapton and R&B singer Babyface. Each of them evinces the same pleasant persona as Knight’s themes, even-tempered but scarcely challenging. On the other hand, Knight’s main influence, George Benson, has many devoted fans, and those who are charmed by his music may be similarly enamored by Knight’s trio and its Persistence.” Click here to the songs on this release.
Julian Lage – View With A Room (Blue Note): “World class vocalist Kate Baker and her late husband guitar giant Vic Juris, chronicle a moving love story on Return to Shore, their evocative new album. Produced by guitar great Dave Stryker, Return to Shore displays some of Juris’ most innovative (and final) guitar work to date while showcasing Baker’s formidable skills as a singing storyteller. Featuring expressive editions of jazz and pop music selections, as well as a collection of original compositions, Return to Shore is a stunning recorded document of tender connection and supreme musical synergy.” This is his final. Click here to listen to “God Only Knows”, their final duo. https://katebakerandvicjuris.bandcamp.com/album/return-to-shore Click here to listen to “God Only Knows”, the opening song.
Guitarist Julian Lage expands his horizons on View With A Room a collection of 10 compelling original compositions that marks his second release for Blue Note Records. Having established a home base with his brilliant and deeply attuned trio of bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Dave King—most recently heard on the guitarist’s acclaimed 2021 Blue Note debut Squint—Lage casts his gaze outward to discover new orchestrational possibilities with the addition of six-string icon Bill Frisell, who adds his inimitable voice to this absolutely stunning album. “In so many ways, I’ve wanted to make this record for years,” says Lage. View With A Room harkens back more than a decade to the Julian Lage Group, a quintet with saxophone and cello last heard on 2011’s Gladwell. “It comes from a line of musical inquiry: can you have lush orchestration combined with an organic sense of improvisation and the agility of a small ensemble?” Without bolstering the line-up with additional instrumentation and more intricate writing, thus losing the maneuverability and venturesome spontaneity that he’s honed with Roeder and King over the last several years, Lage found his solution where he so often does: in the guitar. —“The answer came from some of the historical references that matter to me about the electric guitar,” Lage explains. “There’s a certain lineage that grows out of early pioneers like Jimmy Bryant and George Barnes and Charlie Christian, where there’s this almost electric volatility to the sound. It’s both beautiful and kind of sharp; it’s subdued and warm, but also kind of gritty. In thinking about the orchestration for this album, I wanted to foster the point of that arrow.” There’s no one better suited to understanding what Lage was seeking, who is better versed in the history of guitar and jazz and beyond, its personalities and possibilities, than Bill Frisell. The legendary guitarist has worked with Lage in several different contexts, including duo concerts and projects devised by John Zorn, and enhances Lage’s vision in atmospheric and incisive ways throughout View With A Room. The pair honed in on a shorthand vocabulary rich with references as diverse as the Beach Boys, Keith Jarrett’s American and European Quartets, and George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass.
“Bill on his own, is such an iconic orchestrational force,” Lage says. “But what I loved in our conversations about this record is that Bill instantly responded, ‘Oh, I totally get it. I know what frequencies you want to pop and I know what that represents to the lineage of jazz guitar.’ Bill is so in tune with those nuances of the guitar’s journey, and it was fun to speak that language natively together.” Frisell is at his most evocative on the tender opening track, “Tributary.” The tune showcases Lage’s gift for songcraft, unfurling a wistful narrative that flows with the staccato grace of a Willie Nelson phrase, enshrouded by Frisell’s airy tones and dazzling effects. The two guitarists’ subtle weave is at the heart of “Auditorium,” where Frisell’s agile rhythm work buoys Lage’s eloquent leads atop the gracefully subtle propulsion of Roeder and King.” (https://www.bluenote.com/spotlight/julian-lages-view-with-a-room/) Click here for a “Room With A Room”.
Carmen Lundy – fade to black (Afrasia Productions): “Jazz Vocalist, Composer, Arranger, Visual Artist… Fade to Black is Carmen Lundy’s 16th album and one of her most personal to date. Grammy® Nominated for her previous album Modern Ancestors, these 11 original songs, written and arranged by Carmen Lundy, were conceived during the challenging months of the pandemic and reflect this time of great loss, sorrow, healing, and hope for a brighter, more inclusive future for us all. Tackling the difficult social issues of our time while also musing on the joys of love and relationships, this stunning set of songs takes us on an emotional journey that culminates in the extraordinary hymn-like ballad titled “Rest In Peace”. Fade to Black is Carmen Lundy’s 16th album and one of her most personal to date. Grammy® Nominated for her previous album Modern Ancestors, these 11 original songs, written and arranged by Carmen Lundy, were conceived during the challenging months of the pandemic and reflect this time of great loss, sorrow, healing, and hope for a brighter, more inclusive future for us all. Tackling the difficult social issues of our time while also musing on the joys of love and relationships, this stunning set of songs takes us on an emotional journey that culminates in the extraordinary hymn-like ballad titled “Rest In Peace”. Fade To Black is Carmen Lundy’s 16th album and one of her most personal to date. Grammy® Nominated for her previous album Modern Ancestors, these 11 original songs, written and arranged by Carmen Lundy, were conceived during the challenging months of the pandemic and reflect this time of great loss, sorrow, healing, and hope for a brighter, more inclusive future for us all. Tackling the difficult social issues of our time while also musing on the joys of love and relationships, this stunning set of songs takes us on an emotional journey that culminates in the extraordinary hymn-like ballad titled “Rest In Peace”.” (https://carmenlundy.com/product/fade-to-black/) Click here to listen to clips of the songs by Carmen Lundy from this release.
Roberto Magris – Duo & Trio (JMoodRecords): ““I enjoy a good wine, says Paul Collins of JMood Records. Whenever I have a chance to attend a wine tasting, I look forward to the sommelier explaining various aspects of the wine. Things such as, the grape, the region, the vineyard and owners, the aging process, hints added, what to pair it with and lastly, tasting the product. With our new product, we have captured several textures and complexities of the jazz legacy and preserved them in time. Packaged as a duo, trio product, gives this project a quality jazz lovers will enjoy consuming. Several tracks have hints of a beautiful region, compositions, and several reference points in time for the JMood Records label. We have included remnants of our recorded musical tribute (RMT) series; “One Night In With Hope and More” blended, and paired with vintage tracks from our friend and consummate saxophonist Mark Colby, and prepared by our jazz sommelier Roberto Magris, that make for gold points with this offering. With the on slot of Covid-19 ravaging over the past few years, combined with the loss of Mark during this period, we were not able to get back in the studio to put the finishing touches on our planned duo project with Mark. However, like a consummate sommelier, Roberto Magris knew exactly how to pair this new music offering with quality ingredients we are known for around the world. Special thanks to our talented musicians on this project and their contributions over the years. In dedication to the life and music of Mark Colby, enjoy the musical history we present. Cheers!”
Steve Shapiro – Plan To Be Spontaneous (Solidtone): “Vibraphonist Steve Shapiro’s progressive electric mallet album Plan To Be Spontaneous, out on 9/16/2022. Solidtone Recordings is pleased to announce the September 16th release of Plan To Be Spontaneous by veteran NYC vibraphone and mallet keyboardist Steve Shapiro. Recorded during lockdown, this studio album features collaborations with friends from Nashville and New Orleans, including saxophonist Jeff Coffin, and guitarists Pat Bergeson & Shane Theriot. Rounding it out is an A-list crew of in-demand NYC musicians: Oz Noy, Mark Egan, Carter McLean, Joel Rosenblatt, and Snarky Puppy’s Bob Lanzetti. The opening track also adds very special guest Lucy Woodward on vocals. The album contains seven brand- new original compositions featuring Steve on vibes, marimba, and electronic mallet controller. From the first notes of the opening track “Extremely Moderate,” it becomes obvious that this is no traditional vibraphone album. Lucy Woodward delivers a powerful vocal performance that sets up extended improvisations from Steve on vibes and Jeff Coffin on sax. We can hear Shapiro’s personal vibraphone voice fully shine throughout the rest of the project, along with his unmistakable sound-design on mallet synthesizers. It’s a unique approach, and hard to think of many other albums that explore this type of contemporary setting for mallet percussion outside of composers like Frank Zappa. The stellar production shows why Steve has been highly-regarded for many years as producer, synthesist, and scoring composer for many major TV and film projects, beyond his performance skills on mallets. “Steve Shapiro is a legitimate triple-threat musician”. (????) Shapiro swears not he IS NOT a ROBOT!
Melvin Sparks – Pride And Joy (LeCoq): Melvin Sparks (March 22, 1946 – March 15, 2011) was an American soul jazz, hard bop and jazz blues guitarist. He recorded a number of albums for Prestige Records, later recording for Savant Records. He appeared on several recordings with musicians including Lou Donaldson, Sonny Stitt, Leon Spencer and Johnny Hammond Smith. Melvin Sparks (March 22, 1946 – March 15, 2011) was an American soul jazz, hard bop and jazz blues guitarist. He recorded a number of albums for Prestige Records, later recording for Savant Records. He appeared on several recordings with musicians including Lou Donaldson, Sonny Stitt, Leon Spencer and Johnny Hammond Smith.
Jeremy Wong – Hey There (Cellar 20): “A collection of songs musing on the what-ifs and close-but-no-cigars of love, Hey There is an introduction to Canada’s next chanteur de jazz, Jeremy Wong. His rich, lyrical baritone shows clear ties to his antecedents, evoking the great jazz singers and crooners of old. The ten tracks feature only the finest players of the Vancouver jazz scene, bringing together the youth of Ardeshir Pourkeramati (tenor sax, arrangements) and Alvin Brendan (guitar) with seasoned veterans Chris Gestrin (piano), John Lee (bass), and Jesse Cahill (drums). Slick reharmonization and arranging keep old standards new and fresh, while two originals showcase Jeremy’s thoughtful, introspective lyrics, leaving the listener feeling wistful and lucky to have been loved: a hopeful romantic, much like him.” The players are Jeremy Wong (vocals), Ardeshir Pourkeramati (tenor saxophone), Chris Gestrin (piano), John Lee (bass), Jesse Cahill (drums) and Alvin Brendan (guitar). Click here to review this set.
Al Basile – Through With Cool (sweet-spot): “Through With Cool is Al Basile’s 19th solo artist release, and the third he has produced. It features 14 new Al Basile songs, with a band comprised of current and former Duke Robillard Band and Roomful of Blues members, and adds BMA nominated best guitarist Kid Andersen to the mix, as in last year’s release B’s Testimony. Al has 8 BMA nominations himself since 2010. His songwriting builds and and extends the whole of blues and roots traditions in a distinctive and accessible way, and his cornet solos come out of mainstream jazz but are adapted to the changing rhythms of contemporary blues.”… “Through With Cool is Al Basile’s 19th solo artist release, and the third he has produced. It features 14 new Al Basile songs, with a band comprised of current and former Duke Robillard Band and Roomful of Blues members, and adds BMA nominated best guitarist Kid Andersen to the mix, as in last year’s release B’s Testimony. Al has 8 BMA nominations himself since 2010. His songwriting builds and and extends the whole of blues and roots traditions in a distinctive and accessible way, and his cornet solos come out of mainstream jazz but are adapted to the changing rhythms of contemporary blues.” A click will allow you to listen we songs on this release.
GA – 20 – Crackdown (Karma Chief): “GA-20 clearly is on to something big. It’s a movement, a new traditional blues revival. The dynamic, throwback blues trio are disciples of the place where traditional blues, country and rock ‘n’ roll intersect. “We make records that we would want to listen to,” says guitarist Matt Stubbs. “It’s our take on the song-based traditional electric blues we love.” Stubbs, guitarist/vocalist Pat Faherty, and drummer Tim Carman have been at the forefront of this traditional blues revival since they first formed in 2018. It’s no wonder they skyrocketed to the top of the Billboard Blues Chart.According to Stubbs, “Since we started the band we’ve focused on the story, the melody, and on creating a mood. Playing live as much as we do, we’re finding more and more that people are discovering how cool it all is. Traditional country, soul and funk music have all had these massive recent revivals, but traditional blues so far has not.” With their new Colemine album, Crackdown, and an intensive tour schedule, that’s all about to change. On Crackdown, GA-20’s third full-length release, the band creates an unvarnished, ramshackle blues that is at once traditional and refreshingly modern. Expanding on their previous releases (2019’s Lonely Soul and 2021’s Try It…You Might Like It! GA-20 Does Hound Dog Taylor) GA-20 finds inspiration on the edges of the genre, where early electric blues first converged with country and rock ‘n’ roll. The album’s nine original songs include the loping, Louisiana-flavored Dry Run, the dirty, and bare-bones Easy On The Eyes and the melodic, garage-tinged Fairweather Friend. With tight, propulsive performances and a brevity and punk energy reminiscent of The Ramones, Crackdown is rowdy and fun, filled with instantly memorable, and well-crafted songs.” Click here to listen to the solid songs on this release.
Mick Kolassa – They Call Me Uncle Mick! (Endless Blues Records): “With his 11th album Mick Kolassa declares, I’m Just Getting Started, and what a start. Roaming through his “Free Range Blues” Mick serves up several subgenres of blues. Working again with producer Jeff Jensen, they have assembled a cadre of seasoned musicians to bring you a selections of ear opening tunes. Opening with the title track, “I’m Just Getting Started”, Mick declares that he’s got moves ain’t nobody seen yet. In the second track Mick steps away from the classic blues and brings you a Soul blues tune called “What Can I Do?” that features some stellar lead guitar work by Dexter Allen, who also played bass on ten of the tracks on this album. Mick then asks listeners to dream “Bigger Dreams” and not give up on the ones they have. Mick and the band move in the direction of jazz with their cover of “Alibis and Lies”, a song about modern day Beale Street originally done by Chainsaw Dupont. Joining Mick on his version of the Taj Mahal classic “Leaving Truck” is Brandon Santini – this is the first song Mick and Brandon ever played together, many years ago, and they bring it with a new and funky groove. Brandon also joined Mick in presenting their take on the John Hiatt tune “Real Man”. The other cover on this album is a very bluesy/roots gospel take on the Pacific Gas and Electric rock classic “Are You Ready”. The love songs “That Kind of Man” and “Take Me Away” are presented with a mixture of Soul and blues rock, while “Trying Not to Let the Darkness In” is one of Mick’s classic minor key slow blues songs. Closing out this new album are “Hard Hearted Woman”, a tune about a lady who should be avoided, to say the least, and “How Much Can I Pay You?” a comical song about a patron at a club who gets more than a little carried away with her celebrating. All combined, these songs represent an expansion of the Free Range Blues Mick is noted for, and he’s just getting started!” (https://endlessblues.com/mick-kolassa-im-just-getting-started/) I regret I have not been able to find a sample.
Rob “Wild Boar” Moore – Used To be Wild (Robert Moore): ““Rob Moore’s old enough to draw a Social Security stipend, yet spry enough to cut loose on one sizzling number after another. A wry wit often shines through his originals; he’s aware of the passage of time, but his blues help him through the rough spots and leave him- and you- in a better place.” (Bill Dahl) Sorry, the options are sparse!
Smokey Tango – Laura Tate (Blue Heart Records): “Smokey Tango, Laura Tate’s sixth album, takes the listener on a captivating journey through the lush landscape of the South and the swamplands of Louisiana. From visions of tuxedoed dancers twirling under a canopy of stars to table-top juke joint jumpin’ in the Quarter, aural surprises excite and inspire throughout the 12 tracks. The music of Smokey Tango is a dance you don’t want to sit out.”
Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a sample.