Wednesday, January 25, 2012

CD Pre-release Review: The Heritage Blues Orchestra, "And Still I Rise"


The Heritage Blues Orchestra's new CD, "And Still I Rise" will be released on February 28, 2012. This new CD was produced by Grammy-nominated producer Larry Skoller and was recorded in Brooklyn, NY. I would have guessed that it might have been recorded in the deep South maybe New Orleans because it has the feel of traditional Black deep country blues and yet brings a new fresh approach to the genre'.

The Heritage Blues Orchestra features Bill Sims Jr. (vocals/electric and acoustic guitars/handclaps), Chaney Sims (vocals/handclaps), and Junior Mack (vocals/electric and slide guitars/dobro). Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith plays drums/percussion, Vincent Bucher on harmonica, Matthew Skoller does the harmonica solo on "Big-Legged Woman", Bruno Wilhelm did the horn arrangements and plays tenor sax, Kenny Rampton and Steve Wiseman on trumpets and Clark Gayton on Trombone/sousaphone and tuba.

This may be a new CD for the Heritage Blues Orchestra but the sounds captured in this CD are a beautiful blend of old traditional blues with some sensational modern musical talents. This is a must CD for anyone who loves down home blues.  The cuts on this CD give the mental image of this group of talented musicians playing in the backyard or perhaps on the front steps of a house in the deep South. Bill Sims Jr's singing is outstanding throughout but especially on the Muddy Waters classic, "Catfish Blues" and also on "Big-Legged Women". The electric slide guitar work by Junior Mack is a good as it gets! Chaney Sims, daughter of Bill Sims Jr. sings with a reality of life experiences. Chaney has many versatile singing styles and she gets to express them all on this CD from soulful blues to gospel testimony. The last song on the CD, "Hard Times"is beautifully arranged like a three-part suite.  It starts with the soft and silky voice of Chaney Sims have a musical conversation with a soft guitar. Then is moves into fabulous horn symphony arrangement written by Bruno Wilhelm that is haunting and Bruno then finishes with a terrific tenor solo. Vincent Bucher plays wonderful harp through out and Matthew Skoller plays a great harmonica solo on "Big-Legged Women". The drumming provided by Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith provides a strong foundation for the group throughout the CD.

What makes this blues CD very special is that every musician participating in making this beautiful music is a master of the blues.  Put them all together in the Heritage Blues Orchestra and what results is a must have CD for any lovers of traditional American blues.

No comments:

Post a Comment

CD Review: Scott Reeves Jazz Orchestra, "Without A Trace"

OK big band fans, I know I have featured a lot of Vocalists lately, so I have a present for you.     Composer, Trombonist, Arranger, Aut...