First, of course, is the voice. Tonally-even voices are boring. That explains the appeal of voices like Louis Armstrong's (pitch-perfect gravel in a coffee can); Richard Manuel's (pleading voice of a dying man); Levon Helm's (Scotch-Irish Delta dirt) and Neil Young's (dry ice on the range). Greg Nagy has a voice like that. It is beautifully shaped out of Detroit grit, tobacco, and haze. Nagy's voice is informed equally by every Motown act he heard in his 1960's youth as well as those coming out of Memphis during the same period. The title cut frames Nagy squarely in a soulR&B intersection. Recalling David Ruffin more than Eddie Kendricks, Nagy possesses the necessary vocal edge to set him far apart from his contemporaries.
Second is the guitar. Nagy favors Fender Stratocasters played with little or no overdrive, producing a slinky, spacious sound that recalls Funk Brother Joe Messina. This is most evident on the soul-centered pieces like "Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City" and "Welcome Home." He can play the blues also. "Long Way to Memphis" digs out a Delta groove allowing Nagy ample room to stretch. Nagy's blues retain a polished sophistication that is the mark of much study and practice. As Nagy's third full-length release, Stranded further promotes the artist's unique bona fides and reflects his dedication to not only the old, but also the new.
Track Listing: Stranded; Walk Out That Door; Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City;
I Won’t Give Up; Run Away with You; Long Way to Memphis; Still Doing
Fine; Been Such a Long Time; Sometimes; Welcome Home.
I was first exposed to jazz as a child in Boston and at a Sun Ra concert.
I met Jaco Pastorius as a teenager in NYC.
The best show I ever attended was The Gap Band.
The first jazz record I bought was Heavy Weather.