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Bobby Hurricane Spencer: Hurricane Unleashed

Jim Worsley By

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Bobby Hurricane Spencer: Hurricane Unleashed
What is unleashed here is a giant sized bowl of thick and rich blues, jazz, funk, and an R&B stew. A large ensemble serves it up hot, with Bobby Hurricane Spencer dishing out large portions of smokin' hot tenor saxophone licks, as well as vocals that range from tender to gritty. Whether Spencer is a saxophonist who also sings or a vocalist that can play is a tossup. He is equally at home. The two timer is also responsible for composing ten of the twelve tasty entrees.

For Spencer this is a culmination of decades in the business. For the listener perhaps more of a celebration. "Gotta Get Back To Chicago" starts the outing with the rhythm section driving a slick groove. Spencer's commanding presence is immediately on display with the deep resonance of his voice and the intensity of his tenor. Guitarist Andrea Balestra and keyboardist Mo Beeks give depth to an opener that keenly denotes just what this record is all about. Spencer then gives a yearning and steamy take on "You're All I Need," as well as his flavorful riffs to this R&B ditty. Charlie Parker is remembered both warmly and honestly as they shuffle off to "Camarillo." Spencer scats his way along on this toe tappin' number.

The first of only two songs not penned by Spencer is the well-known instrumental "Honky Tonk." The down home blues feel is well conjured by the ensemble plus one. Guitarist Lester Lands makes his only appearance on the record—and he makes it count! Lands stretches out a well-crafted solo that impacts the music and inspires Spencer to blow like there was no tomorrow. They notch it even further, then go back and forth trading licks and tricks. A hot reimagine for sure. Slowing it down a bit was the only direction fathomable. A good time to take a romantic stroll to "Lovers Hill." The Hurricane blows softly and puts his heart into this sentimental ballad. Background vocalists Kelly Chappue, Bosa Mora, and Dominique Toney put out their strongest performance on this song as well. Spencer then steps on the gas for the fiery side of romance as we get turned on to his hot "Little Mama." He works it on out riding an easy, steady, yet swinging groove. "You Make Me Crazy" has Spencer up for another romantic affair. The threesome of singers again are on top of it, as Spencer delivers a full range vocal performance and some penetrating sax lines.

Grover Washington, Jr,'s "Mr. Magic" is given a complete makeover. A very cool new arrangement guides the powerful and funky instrumental into flight. Balestra, along with the rhythm section of drummer Dario Benzoni and bassist Matias Alvear Fall drive and steer the highly melodic classic at a rapid and fluid pace. Spencer blisters with savage veracity and superb note selection. The same mountain of energy moves into serious heartache, with Spencer reaching into his core for "I Got The Blues." The band picks up the beat and bounces through "Maybelle." Spencer's spicy sax chops ringing true with the ensemble at full force with him.

The session concludes with two songs, "Holler'n and Wallow'n" and "Call Your Dogs Off" that exemplify the sheer fun and joy of Hurricane Unleashed, a sizzling romp that showcases his compositional, vocal, and instrumental expertise.

Track Listing

Gotta Get Back To Chicago; You're All I Need; Camarillo; Honky Tonk; Lovers Hill; Little Mama; You Make Me Crazy; Mr. Magic; I Got The Blues; Big Maybelle; Holler'n and Wallow'n; Call Your Dogs Off.

Personnel

Bobby Hurricane Spencer: saxophone, tenor; Andrea Balestra: guitar, electric; Matias Alvear Fall: bass; Dario Benzoni: drums; Mo Beeks: keyboards; Albert Trepagnier Jr.: congas; Tyler Combs: vibraphone; Josh Aguilar: trumpet; Wesley Smith: saxophone, alto; Kelly Chappue: voice / vocals; Bosa Mora: voice / vocals; Dominique Toney: voice / vocals; Lester Lands: guitar.

Album information

Title: Hurricane Unleashed | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Self Produced

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