150

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

Ed Kopp By

Sign in to view read count
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.

| Record Label: Jazz Me Blues Music | Style: Blues


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Vars & Kaper:Deconstruction" CD/LP/Track Review Vars & Kaper:Deconstruction
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 29, 2016
Read "Once Upon a Time Right Now" CD/LP/Track Review Once Upon a Time Right Now
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: July 29, 2016
Read "The Quest: Live at the A.P.C." CD/LP/Track Review The Quest: Live at the A.P.C.
by Jim Trageser
Published: February 14, 2017
Read "Lost Signals" CD/LP/Track Review Lost Signals
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 25, 2016
Read "Black Orpheus" CD/LP/Track Review Black Orpheus
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 30, 2016
Read "Meditations on Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Meditations on Freedom
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: January 16, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!