150

Yoko Noge and the Jazz Me Blues Band: Yoko Meets John

Ed Kopp By

Sign in to view read count
Yoko Noge and the Jazz Me Blues Band: Yoko Meets John Hate to disappoint John Lennon fans, but this is not a previously unknown recording of blues covers by the ex-Beatle and Yoko Ono. The Yoko who appears on this CD is instead Yoko Noge, a Japanese business reporter and pianist who became so smitten with the blues that she relocated from Osaka to Chicago to further her musical training. The John of the title is John Watson, a Chicago trombonist and singer who formerly backed Count Basie. Together Noge and Watson front the appropriately named Jazz Me Blues Band.

On Yoko Meets John, the Jazz Me Blues Band swings out smartly on nine tunes recorded live at Chicago’s HotHouse. The band’s style is more suggestive of pre-1940s Kansas City and New Orleans jazz rather than modern Chicago blues, but the sextet displays plenty of talent and charm. Unfortunately, the vocal interplay between Noge and Watson dominates on most tracks, and neither is a very good singer.

Noge sings in an affected blues style that’s less engaging than some karaoke singers I’ve heard. Watson doesn’t sing so much as talk. Their schtick together may entertain in a club setting, but it grows tedious on CD, particularly when you hear Watson ask, "See what I’m sayin’?" at least 25 times over the course of the album.

The sidemen compensate to some extent, especially tenor saxman Sonny Seals (not to be confused with Chicago guitarist Son Seals), whose graceful playing brings to mind Gene Ammons. Watson’s trombone blowing is also superb the few times we hear it. Reportedly Noge is a fine barrelhouse pianist, but the songs here feature too much of her limited voice and not enough of her piano work.

The songs are a mix of jazzy blues standards ("I Want a Little Girl," "For You My Love"), bluesy jazz standards ("Don’t You Feel My Leg." "Rocks in My Bed") and Noge originals. Two of the originals stand out: the old-timey instrumental "HotHouse Blues" and the film-noirish "Snow Country." The latter contains the album’s best vocal performance (by Noge), while both songs showcase some fine sax work by Seals. Also interesting is "Black Boat Song," a blues interpretation of a traditional Japanese folk song.

I’d welcome an entire album of instrumentals from the Jazz Me Blues Band. Unfortunately, the vocal tracks rule on this CD, and the singers just can't carry them.


Title: Yoko Meets John | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Jazz Me Blues Music


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read The Late Trane CD/LP/Track Review The Late Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Lost at Last" CD/LP/Track Review Lost at Last
by Geno Thackara
Published: November 10, 2016
Read "Perceive React" CD/LP/Track Review Perceive React
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 31, 2016
Read "Shapes" CD/LP/Track Review Shapes
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: August 24, 2016
Read "Binary" CD/LP/Track Review Binary
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 19, 2016
Read "Rhythmic Movement" CD/LP/Track Review Rhythmic Movement
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 22, 2016
Read "Reciprocity" CD/LP/Track Review Reciprocity
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 15, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.