Jazz Sensibilities

Since 2008, a place to discover new jazz and beyond releases on the rise. New WEBSITE and New Contributors Adding. Stay Tuned. Until then, enjoy the blog, but check back often.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rented Mule - "F"

Rented Mule "X"
Reviewed By: Jeff Becker
Year: 2009
Personnel: D.A. Jones (drums), Marcell Bellinger (trumpet), Jason O'Mara (saxophones), Camille G. Brown, (keyboards, Pete McRae (guitar), Napoleon Black (percussion), Dan Greenberg (bass)

Rented Mule “X” is the sophomore effort by this group that has a sound reminiscent of the early fusion meets R&B, sound of late 70’s. While conceptually a great idea the release didn’t really have a fresh approach, it was honestly a dated sound performed by an ensemble who reminded me of a club group, instead of recording artists.

Overall the highlight on this disc is Don ‘D.A.’ Jones (drummer) and Dan Greenberg (bassist) unfortunately the rest of the ensemble sounds very young which creates even more focus on the weak points of the CD.

Additionally there is a sonic problem within the recording. The bass doesn’t resonate clearly throughout the recording, which especially in this type musical presentation it is imperative to feel the thump of the bass along with crisp clarity of sound for the true enjoyment this genre has to offer. Overall, the lack of clarity adds to distaste for the recording. It almost felt like a jam session instead of a national release.

Kat Walker's "Jazz Skat Gumbo"

Kat Walker,
Jazz Skat Gumbo
Review By: Jeff Becker
Purchase Link: CD Baby
Personnel: Personnel: Kat Walker: vocals; Bart Ramsey: piano; Dominick Grillo: saxophone; Spike Perkins: bass; Dennis O'Toole: drums.

Greasy, spicy and delicious, no I am not talking about food; I am talking about the debut CD from Kat Walker
Jazz Skat Gumbo. Hmmm, Hmmm, Hmmm this is hot New Orleans swing and Walker serves it up with authenticity.

At first listen you could mistake this CD as one of the many vocal jazz albums with countless renditions of well-worn standards, which would be an oversight; this CD is rich with the southern red clay and double fisted barrel house piano of juke joints.

For this review we will focus on “It Don’t Mean A Thing, (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” The band leads off with a full form setting up this swingin’ rendition, pianist Bart Ramsey’s “stride-ish” left hand counterpoint creates a nice pad under Walker’s vocals. You can almost hear Kat smile when she comes in, her vocals are bouncing, fun and in the pocket. Her voice is whiskey soaked and like a fine weathered horn. The first solo is embarked on by Ramsey; he uses chromaticism to turn up the heat to a boil. Reedman, Dominick Grillo heads straight to the kitchen ala Sam Butera style and adds his spice to the gumbo. Bassist, Spike Perkins and drummer Dennis O’ Toole take their turn in the sous chef seat and add in their zesty creole into the mix. To tie up the meal Kat Walker sprinkles in a bit of “vocal scat” making this dish a tangy delight.

Infectious, fun and just enough zing to make it swing. A nice calling card for a debut CD,
Jazz Skat Gumbo will leave you satisfied.