Wherein I go digging for new gold, separating the wheat from the chaff. A lot more chaff than wheat out there lately. But what I got here passed the ME test. Something for everyone as long as you like blues-rock, gypsy jazz, big band and low-key funk. Otherwise, not so much.
From his press release: “Blues-rock prodigies are a special breed. They live and breathe the fiery swagger of electric guitars and the irresistible allure of rhythm-soaked songs. That’s Clay Melton’s musical calling in a nutshell. At only 26, the Louisiana-born and Texas-based bluesy rocker has already spent 13 years performing live. His powerfully raspy voice and wicked guitar licks leave no doubt he’s grown up in the school of barroom blues-rock.
Back to Blue, a 5-song EP coming July 23, is Melton’s follow-up to 2017’s critically acclaimed, full-length debut Burn the Ships. Back to Blue, which Melton began recording November 2020 in Austin and finished May 2021 in Houston, boasts production and engineering credits by Grammy-winner Danny Jones (Stevie Ray Vaughan, Patti LaBelle, Etta James) as well as Clay himself.”
This is some tasty blues. His gruff voice reminds me sometimes of Warren Haynes. And at 26, he’s got some pretty killer guitar chops. Here’s “Say That You Love Me.”
About a year or so ago, just pre-COVID, I did a piece on Filippo Dall’Asta wherein I said this: “His website advises that he is “an Italian Gypsy jazz guitarist, composer, bandleader, and arranger, mixing the sounds of Gypsy jazz with traditional Indian music, to forge his own style of progressive guitar playing. Filippo began playing at the age of 5 in Parma, Italy, and studied music in his native country as well as Germany, France, Holland, and India.’
Filippo is back again with another tune, a standard called “Brazil.” It’s actually kind of a fun tune. I think you might recognize it:
When I heard this tune – “Permanently Down” – I instantly thought it had a little bit of that Little Feat flavor. The band is called Al’s Peace. Here’s a bit of bio:
Al.’s Peace is a soul, funk, blues, reggae, world music band based out of Southern California led by percussionist and lead vocalist Al Keith. The band members have changed over the years but always have been good friends and fellow performing/touring musicians.
“We play it all, and we mean it. This band is diverse for reason. We represent the world. Our music represents us. That’s why I refer to it as SoulFolkBlueFunkReggarJamBoogieSalsaRock, That’s right… That’s what we’re about.”
The band is unique in its diversity of material and also instrumentation. The full band currently consists of two guitarists, two bass players, two background vocalists, and a drummer along with Al and all his percussion. The music and the message is spiritual, soulful, and positive. And it’s all about the groove.”
I can’t argue with any of that. Here’s “Permanently Down.”
From his press release: “Saxophonist/composer Dave Mullen offers a welcome dose of Solace to a world sorely in need of it on his invigorating new album. Far from the somber elegy the title might imply, however, Mullen finds his comfort in the inspiring voices of some of jazz’s most iconic figures, in the warming embrace of family, and in the exhilarating musicianship of a group of his masterful peers.
That includes pianist Jon Cowherd, bassist Hans Glawischnig, drummer E.J. Strickland, and, in a pair of special guest appearances, trumpeter Jim Seeley. The album was also mixed by the Grammy-winning producer-engineer Jeff Jones, a regular collaborator with Jazz at Lincoln Center who has worked with the likes of Wynton Marsalis and Dr. John.
From Solace, I leave you with a little jazz in “The Grind.”