Here's a concisely arranged, quaint and slightly off-kilter effort from a crew of New York City musicians who generally shun the straight and narrow. Organist Jamie Shaft commences the opener, "Whatever Lola Wants," with an eerie, low-pitched groove followed by David Tronzo's wily slide guitar ruminations. The band continues to meld laid back, funk vibes with country blues and rock backbeats on many of these works. Saft's haunting organ motif serves as the underpinning for Tronzo's dreamy guitar and the group's altogether sullen soundscapes created on "Crawl." However, drummer Kenny Wollesen drags the pulse with his brushes while Tronzo consummates "Lane" with a Nashville flavor with his wistful pedal steel guitar work.
The musicians chart a course of quirkily fabricated themes and whispery choruses, although they provide an edge largely due to their unorthodox voicings and intermittent injections of humor and wit. They finalize the recording with a cacophonous, free improv fest on "Figure 1." Overall, El Oh El Ay is a fun outing, as the respective artists' distinct musical personalities provide that winning formula.
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.