Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Stony Plain artist: Taj Mahal - Savoy - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Savoy, from Taj Mahal and it is a radical departure from his earlier releases with blues related jazz tracks from the earlier part of the past century. Opening with Ellingston's, Stompin' At The Savoy, Taj Mahal lays back and swings on vocals surrounded by period correct vocal backing by Carla Holbrook, Leesa Humphrey and Charlotte McKinnon. The band is tight with Erik Jekabson on trumpet, Mike Rinta on trombone, Sheldon Brown on clarinet and sax and a strong sax solo by Charles McNeal. Danny Caron on guitar, Ruth Davies on bass, John Simon on piano and Leon Joyce Jr. on drums. On Gershwin's Summertime, Mahal pushes the pace up and with a simple rimshot by Joyce and swinging vocal by Mahal, this track is cool. Lincoln Adler really lays out a strong sax solo and Caron on guitar hits the guitar just right backed by Jekabson on trumpet and Brown on sax. Possibly my favorite tack on the release. Maria Muldaur joins Taj on Baby It's Cold Outside with a nice duo between Evan Price on violin and Jekabson on trumpet. Louis Jordan's, Caldonia really hits this set nicely with Taj on harmonica and vocal and terrific trombone solo by Rinta and sax solo by McNeal. Excellent. Wrapping the release is One For My Baby with Taj really laying back in the slot and letting the soul ooze out. Caron lays in an excellent bluesy guitar solo with rich trumpet, Trombone, bass clarinet and sax by Jekabson, Rinta, Brown and McNeal respectively. Very fine. 

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