Tuesday, September 17, 2019

VizzTone Label Group artist: Ben Levin - Before Me - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Before Me, by Ben Levin and it's really cool. Opening with Big Bill Broonzy's I Feel So Good, Ben Levin shows how it should be done as a leader on piano and lead vocals. With perfect dynamics and a great team featuring strong lead guitar work by Bon Margolin, and Bob Corritore on harmonica, this track is tight. Backing this star front line is Aron Levin on guitar, Chris Douglas on bass and Oscar Bonal on drums. Super opener. On Freddie King's instrumental, This Morning, Margolin and Corritore lay down really nice solos complimenting Levin's own solo and the tight drum work by Bernal. Excellent! On Confessin' The Blues, Levin shows some of his best vocals on the release. His style is crisp and his style is smooth. Corritore just lays back in the seat on his solo and his tone is excellent. Margolin's guitar solo is smooth and has great feel. Title track, Before Me has really nice New Orleans style blues lines and again super vocals over a Fats Domino kind of feel. Aron Levin's guitar touch on this track is particularly fine. One of my favorite tracks on the release is slow blues, So Soon, giving Ben a great opportunity to really dig in on piano. His vocals are really nice with real style. Excellent! James Cotton's Lightnin' is up next with Corritore taking the lead. His tone and feel are perfect and get Margolin revved up to one of his loosest and most enjoyable solos on the release. Ben finishes it off in concert with Corritore and Margolin. Very nice. Wrapping the release is an instrumental jam, Open Late, cooked up by Levin, Corritore and Margolin. Levin's piano style is so thick in blues you have a hard time believing that he isn't from 40's or 50's Chicago. Setting the framework for Margolin and Corritore, this is a real nice smoky closer for a solid release.

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