The City Boys Allstars – Personal Thing Review on Jazz

Jazz - Nestor Media

As a mini big band The City Boys Allstars has a complicated history. At the end of the 1980’s, guitarist Mike Merola organized the band, based on the advice and support of the musician, whom he considered his teacher – the already famous trumpeter Lew Soloff. The ensemble performed quite well, until bad health forced Mike to change the composition of the band. Revival of the band was in the new century. As before, the leader of the band remained Mike Merola and soul – Lew Soloff. The City Boys Allstars united in its composition of the professionals who are widely revered as best session musicians in New York. A live album “Blinded by the Night” was named by DownBeat as one of the best albums in 2014. The newest album, shown here, alas, it was the last recording of Lew Soloff. Colleagues, led by Merola the “Personal Thing” album is dedicated to his memory. So, three singers and ten instrumentalists (brass, rhythm section and guitarist-band leader) present to the audience a program of a dozen songs. It opens with its very famous instrumental piece – Birdland by Joe Zawinul in the bright, sparkling as a glass of wine, just to create some festive atmosphere of the arrangement. This first and last cover sets the tone for the album. For the rest of the music on The City Boys Allstars perform only music of their own. The author of music of all subsequent songs are all three vocalist ensemble – Bil Kurtz, Angel Rissoff and Horace Scott II – and bassist Al McDowell, who made the greatest contribution to the program: He has written four songs. The style of the music covers a very wide range from jazz to rock, including elements of funk, soul, blues and gospel, there are numbers and slow tempo, ballad plan plays (I emphasized “ I Will not Write Your Song” Kurtz), but unchanged spirit of optimism in the music and performed makeovers. Excellent playing horn section led by highly experienced Soloff, once among the best, the first part of the famous Blood, Sweat & Tears, varied and perfectly working rhythm group and, finally, three voices are confident in their harmonies. Do not forget leader, whose guitar solo on “Summer Nights” deserves kind words. “Personal Thing – a great album, with the elegant brightness which is a great experience with the skill of its creators. It is a pity only that Lew Soloff played his last riffs here … © & (P) 2015 City Boys Mike Productions LLC 12 tks / 51 mins (Mike Merola – G; Al MacDowell – b; Rob Clores – keyb; Nick Saya – dr; Dan Sadownick – perc; Lew Soloff, Tony Kadleck – tp; Andy Snitzer, “Blue Lou” Marini, Tom “Bones” Malone – saxes; Tom “Bones” Malone – tb; Bil Kurz, Angel Rissoff, Horace Scott II – voc; with Robert Ross – slide g (tk 10)) provided Disc Jazz Promo Services Leonid Auskern

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