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“Slow Poke” is a quartet featuring innovative slide guitarist David Tronzo, multitalented reedman Michael Blake and the equally gifted rhythm section of bassist Tony Scherr and drummer, percussionist Kenny Wolleson. Here, on this rather clever outing titled Redemption, the band gets down, dirty and a bit craggy while conforming to a leisurely gait; hence, - “Slow Poke”.
The quartet turns in a snarling slow Blues vamp on the opener, “Johnny Hornet” where David Tronzo lays down affable funk induced, oscillating chord progressions atop Kenny Wolleson’s unhurried rhythms as tenor saxophonist Michael Blake articulates the folksy theme in sublime fashion. The laid back grooves continue on David Brubeck’s “Sixth Sense” whereas, the band picks up steam atop Tony Scherr’s ostinato bass lines on David Tronzo’s composition “Jar Of Hair”. – They will more than likely have you humming along with Johnny Cash’ composition and title track - “Redemption”. On this piece, the quartet electrifies Cash’ endearing melody line thanks to Tronzo and Blake’s blistering choruses and extended note harmonies as Wolleson drives this tune along with a crafty combo shuffle-march beat.
Slow Poke is all about Blues-Gospel-Rock and tinges of C&W tossed into somewhat of an (intentionally) oddball musical mix. Without a doubt, this recording should warm the hearts of a seemingly widespread audience. Redemption is loads of fun!
* * * 1/2 (out of * * * * *)
Michael Blake; Tenor and Soprano Saxophones, Melodica, Handclaps & Fingersnaps: David Tronzo; Slide Guitar, Baritone Guitar, Dobro & WasteBasket: Tony Scherr; Bass Guitar, Dobro and Guitar: Kenny Wolleson; Drums, Percussion & Samples.
Track listing: 1) Johnny Hornet (David Tronzo) 2) Sixth Sense (Dave Brubeck) 3) Jar Of Hair (David Tronzo) 4) Cilantro (Michael Blake) 5) God Don
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.