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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Apicella & Iron City: Big Boss

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Thank god for groove music. In an era when needless complexity often dominates, it's nice to encounter a throwback record that's built on feel-good rhythms and soulful declarations. That's what Big Boss is all about. Sparks (Carlo, 2009) set things in motion for this band, as guitarist-leader Charlie Apicella planted his flag in soul jazz territory by delivering direct-and-honest originals and covering the music of organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, guitarist Grant Green, and saxophonist Lou Donaldson; The Business (Carlo, 2011), with another Green number ("Donny Brook") and a tip of the cap to slick saxophonist Stanley Turrentine ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Apicella & Iron City: The Business

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Guitarist Charlie Apicella & Iron City get down to the gritty business of delivering variations of funk and soul jazz on The Business, a well-crafted, vibrant grind of guitar-organ sounds supported by percussion and saxophone voices in an exciting quintet format. Though Apicella's playing style has been compared to that of Wes Montgomery, he also has an affinity for the music of Grant Green, featuring one of the late guitarist's compositions on The Business. Produced by veteran jazz guitarist Dave Stryker--a mentor, of sorts, for Apicella--the album contains an interesting blend of creative originals and cover tunes from the likes ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Iron City: The Business

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Guitarist Charlie Apicella and his band mates mix it up nicely with these originals and jazz standards, disavowing a rough-hewn presence and sporting a piquant mode of execution. The artists morph a somewhat traditional blue collar approach to the classic organ-combo into a contemporized product. The band may not 't reinvent the genre, but the diverse and largely up-tempo track mix rounds out a balanced approach, spanning blues, funk, Latin and swing. One of the album highlights is tenor sax titan Sonny Stitt's “Blue String," where the soloists ride atop drummer Alan Korzin's thrusting backbeat, as organist Dave ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Apicella & Iron City: The Business

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Charlie Apicella and Iron City have funk, groove, and insistent swing on The Business. Nominally a guitar/organ/drums trio, this date adds the tenor saxophonist Stephen Riley and conguero Mayra Casales, to fill out the sound. Apicella exhibits a sturdy competence on guitar, with an emphasis on getting all the basics right--never resorting to flame-throwing arpeggios, and with a great sound. This record owes a lot to some of the great proto-funk and soul bands of the 1960s. In places, the roots of Booker T & the MG's show through loud and clear. The opening title track uses the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Iron City: Put the Flavor On It

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How is it that a record can sound so pleasant but at the same time disappoint? That is the case with Iron City's Put the Flavor On It.

Iron City is an organ trio led by guitarist Charlie Apicella and presumably named after the legendary album by Grant Green, John Patton and Ben Dixon. Although this may bring to mind the guitar/organ/drum trios led by Green himself, Jimmy Smith, and other hard bop giants, the music Put the Flavor On It is extremely tame by comparison. Both the leader's original compositions and standards covered are primarily based on short, funk/soul-inflected ...



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