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The New England–based Psychic Horns slip immediately into a funky groove and stay there throughout much of their genial debut album on Whaling City. The horns are trumpeter John Allmark (who composed five of the album’s eleven tunes), saxophonist Dan Moretti (who wrote two others) and trombonist John Wheeler. A fourth horn, baritone Bob Bowlby, is present on some tracks, perhaps even most of them; I can’t say for sure, as the baritone isn’t always audible in ensemble passages and Bowlby takes no solos. Be that as it may, the Psychic Horns exude good–natured vitality on Allmark’s five songs, the two by Moretti, originals by Vern Graham (“Partido Funko”) and Hal Crook (“Funky Harvey”), the ballad “People Make the World Go Round” (a showcase for trombonist Wheeler) and Rodgers and Hart’s standard, “Have You Met Miss Jones” (whose discordant introduction is replaced by a charming quasi–Latin dance rhythm with zestful solos — by Allmark, Moretti [on soprano] and pianist Ben Cook — underlined by Bill Miele’s resonant bass and Vinny Pagano’s commanding drum work). Moretti plays soprano on half a dozen tracks, tenor on four, flute on his own composition, “Trippin’.” He and Allmark are the main soloists with Wheeler having his say on “People,” “91,” Skip Hop” “Monday Night at Amsterdam’s” and “Blues for Lee,” and Cook playing some mean barrelhouse piano on “Amsterdam’s” in addition to his solos on “From the One,” “91,” Miss Jones,” Blues for Lee” and “Funky Harvey.” Guitarist Bruce Bartlett has some blowing room on “91,” “Trippin’,” “Amsterdam’s,” “Rudy’s Place” and “Skip Hop.” The album is notably well recorded, especially drummers Pagano and Marty Richards whose intensity helps keep the energy level high. There’s not a lot of variety here, but what the Psychic Horns do they do quite well, and if funky is your groove, as it is theirs, this well–framed album should assuage your hunger.
Contact:Whaling City Sound, 560 Pleasant Street, PMB #01, New Bedford, MA 02740–6236. Web site, www.whalingcitysound.com
Track Listing: From the One; 91; Trippin
Personnel: John Allmark, trumpet; Dan Moretti, woodwinds; John Wheeler, trombone; Ben Cook, keyboards; Bruce Bartlett, guitar; Bill Miele, bass; Vinny Pagano (1, 2, 4, 5, 11), Marty Richards (3, 6