On any given weekend there are young musicians who are out to make their bones performing at local venues that will give them an opportunity to play their music. The genre of choice for the drinking crowd is usually blues-drenched covers, so that the audience can relate to and enjoy the show. Out of this scenario occasionally surfaces a talented individual who rises above the ruckus and is taken seriously. Guitarist Darren Jay is such a musician and, with his band the Delta Souls, hopes the release of Drink My Wine is his ticket out of the bars and into the national spotlight.
The record, which Jay labels Memphis-based blues, has a clear focus on the songs and sound he wanted, and the result is a diverse blend of originals with two classics thrown in for good measure. The essential Muddy Waters "Hoochie Coochie Man" is performed with a light touch which works well for the band, while "Tin Pan Alley," with superb sax playing by Art Edmaiston, is reminiscent of the Butterfield Blues Band in its prime. From the swift-paced instrumentals "Rider" and "Zilla" to the title track (a hard driving blues), Jay, drummer Hubert Crawford and bassist Laura Cupit demonstrate a maturity which comes from time on the road and an ability to deliver a well-balanced set. In a display of clever tempo changes, "Lovin' Man" begins as a playful rumba then slips into a shuffle with flawless ease. To highlight his Memphis sound, "(Baby) Don't You Lose My Number" has that Jerry Lee Lewis signature piano thumping by Tony Thomas, who also doubles on excellent organ throughout the record.
Naysayers might claim that this type of music has all been done to death, while on the other hand optimists feel that it deserves to be kept alive as American roots music. As long as there are artists like Darren Jay and the Delta Souls willing to deliver authentic goods like Drink My Wine, the latter opinion will win out every time.
Track Listing: Workday Blues; Drink My Wine; Lovin’ Man; Too Late Baby; Hoochie Coochie Man; Everybody Get Together; Tin Pan Alley; (Baby) Don’t You Lose My Number; Zilla; River’s Edge.
Personnel: Darren Jay: electric guitars, vocals; Laura Cupit: bass; Hubert Crawford: drums; Tony Thomas: organ, piano; Wayne Jackson: trumpet (5); Art Edmaiston: tenor and baritone sax (5, 8); Marc Franklin: trumpet (5); Chris Cloys: backing vocals (5); Rodd Bland: drums (10).
Year Released: 2012
| Record Label: Self Produced
| Style: Blues
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.