WZMG is not a radio station, and the Coot is not a DJ. Rather, they constitute a blues-rock outfit from Orange County, Calif. Blues Transmission is the group's debut CD, and it offers an unusual potpourri of styles – everything from blues-rock to prog-rock to jazz-fusion to folk-pop.
About half of this album works for me, the other half doesn’t, but the good stuff is really good. Likable tracks includes "Sold My Soul," a gospel-tinged rocker that wouldn't sound out of place on classic rock radio. The Latin-jazzy instrumental "Casa del Sol" contains some neat guitar exchanges between Greg Watmore and some dude named Nils whose last name isn't provided. "Survival" is a nice piano-tinged rock ballad with attractive vocals from Ted Zahn. I absolutely love the reggae take on Sonny Boy Williamson's "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl." The best track, however, is "W.C. Meadows," a jazz instrumental that blends a blues shuffle beat, Latin and ska interludes, searing guitar, and a very cool trombone solo by Dave Woodley. This song alone is worth the price of admission.
Unfortunately, WZMG's transmission is a bit weak on the remaining songs. "Daniel Kane" and "Hexagonal Bends" aim for a Frank Zappa vibe but end up sounding pretentious. Blues numbers "Born Under a Bad Sign," "The Vapors" and Freeway Cosmetological Myopia" are hampered by keyboards that sound too synthesized. Here's a piece of advice for up-and-coming blues bands: If you can't afford a real organ, stick to acoustic piano. Blues and synthesizers go together like oil and water.
Despite some negatives, Blues Transmission is better than 90% of the independent releases that come my way.
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.