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Various Artists: Cincinnati Jazz Collection, Volume III: The Blues

Jim Santella By

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Like most other metropolitan areas around the world, Cincinnati has a fruitful jazz and blues scene. Where would we be without this kind of tradition? The songs tell stories. Long, detailed stories with just enough innuendo to make it interesting. And when that organist, pianist, guitarist, or saxophonist stretches out... it’s time for passion. This is music that you feel.

Like volumes one and two of the Cincinnati Jazz Collection, volume three features local artists representative of the city’s jazz and blues scene. With a few exceptions, the level of musicianship remains as high. Of special significance are singers P. Ann Everson-Price, Wilbert Longmire and Bill Caffie. A soulful blues belter with an attitude, Everson-Price treats her audience to “Rock Me Baby,” “Your Husband’s Been Cheatin’ on Us” and “Meet Me with your Black Drawers On.” Longmire, with a guitar/vocal line that resembles that of George Benson, delivers the speakeasy “Kansas City.” Baritone singer Caffie, who was with Count Basie’s big band from 1974 to 1977, brings back the tradition on “Stormy Monday;” this time with Steve Schmidt’s stellar organ trio. Jelly Roll Morton’s old school “Winin’ Boy Blues” makes an effective link to the art’s roots. Clarinet and trombone are flanked by Phil DeGreg’s exciting piano trio. Again, the piano trios of Schmidt and DeGreg, respectively, turn “Inception” and “Billie’s Bounce” into thrilling burners. Vibraphonist Rusty Burge joins DeGreg on the latter and they trade fours in the spirit of Bird and Diz.

John Coltrane’s “Some Other Blues” and Bob Berg’s “Friday Night at the Cadillac Club” represent more complex harmonic writing than most blues tunes. Here, they stand out as high points of the album, as electric guitar and alto saxophone turn up the “Friday Night” heat, while Sandy Suskind’s saxophone explores “Some Other Blues.” Patrick Kelly’s creative piano interlude serves as a fine tribute to Trane’s original intention. The blues, intended for the intimacy of a nightclub setting, relies on feeling the music, both as a performer and as a listener. Like most other blues-loving cities, Cincinnati has a small army of talented artists of whom they can be proud.


Track Listing: Blues Medley; Big Dipper; Kansas City; Salsanati Blue; Make Up Your Mind, Baby; West Coast Blues; Whinin

Personnel: Phil DeGreg, William Menefield, Erwin Stuckey, Jim Connerly- piano; Patrick Kelly, Steve Schmidt- piano, organ; Matt Greene- organ; Steve Flora, Mike Sharfe, Eric Sayer, Bob Bodley, Ed Felson, Don Aren, Jim Anderson- bass; Bobby Scott, Zac Kreuz, Marc Wolfley, Melvin Broach, Brian Baverman, Steve Barnes, Tony Franklin- drums; Chris Velez- bongos; Victor Velez- congas; Miguel Maldonado- timbales; Rusty Burge- vibraphone; Scotty Anderson, Bugsy Brandenburg, Ted Karas, Andy Brown- guitar; Frank Powers- clarinet; Sandy Suskind- alto saxophone, flute; Joe Gaudio, Steve Hoskins- alto saxophone; Matt Constantine- alto saxophone, tenor saxophone; Randy Villars- tenor saxophone; Larry Dickson- baritone saxophone; Gary Winters, Jerry Conrad, Scott Belck, Mike Wade- trumpet; Bill Gemmer, Bill Gwynne, Marc Fields, Clarence Pawn- trombone; Wilbert Longmire- vocal, guitar; P. Ann Everson-Price, Dixie Karas, Kathy Wade, Bill Caffie, Eugene Goss- vocal.

| Record Label: J Seven | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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