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CD Review Zen Blues


Zen Blues
Zen Blues Quartet
CD review by Pat Benny


"The Zen Blues Quartet" has a beautiful website, graced with pictures of inspirational landscapes, a heartfelt introspective from guitarist John Marsh and a mountain of praise from journalists like myself. In an effort not to repeat what has already been said, here's my take on the CD, "Zen Blues:"

Take four musicians, each with an impressive resume, and give them the time to appraise themselves. Once they've assessed their talents and their willingness to follow the road less traveled; allow them to follow their hearts into the studio and record the music that fills their respective souls.

This is exactly what fills the shiny side of the CD, "Zen Blues." The playlist is a gorgeous selection of some of the greatest blues compositions by some of the most prominent artists to ever lay down a riff.

Without the usual accoutrements that can sometimes obscure the original intention of the recording, guitarist John March plays his ax with authority on Albert King's "You're Gonna Need Me" and Albert Collins' "Get You Business Straight." Rather than go to the crossroads for inspiration, March chose to climb the mountain.

In addition to laying down a perfect bass line, Tim Scott's vocals convey all of the emotion Al Kooper intended for his composition, "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know." Doc Pomus and Duke Robillard's "Body and Fender Man" are also well represented by Scott. Tim's blues vocals are as genuine as the tracks selected for this recording.

Jeff Young demonstrates what a Hammond B3 in the right hands can lend to a fine blues band. Listen to March's blistering guitar licks and you will hear Young right beside him, giving the tune a mix that's as smooth as glass. He's no slouch at tickling the ivories, as well.

Without a qualified drummer, even the best bands can go awry. Steve Ferrone proves that his contribution to this recording was essential.

Guests on Zen Blues include:

Steve Madaio: trumpet
Tom Saviano: tenor sax
With Milen Kirov: keyboards on "Real Mother For You" and
Special guest Rev. Dave Boruff: tenor sax solo.

The last track on this eclectic playlist is Mose Allison's "Since the World Ended." The ending is surprisingly unique, to say the least, including a chant by The Tibetan Gyuto monks.

My only objection to this superbly executed album is the liner notes. While the information is informative and educational, the print is so teeny tiny small; this writer had to dig out his grandpa glasses to read them.

Find your center with The Zen Blues Quartet at: http://zenbluesmusic.com

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