Dynaflow Records – DF0001
13 songs – 48 minutes
Dynaflow Records is currently doing a wonderful job in getting great artists who have, for various reasons, slipped off the musical radar, back into the recording studio. Following the recent release by Sherwood Fleming, Blues, Blues, Blues (favorably reviewed in Bluesblast issue 9-30, 23 July 2015), now comes a new release from Jewel Brown.
Houston-born Brown has been singing blues and jazz for over 65 years, including a seven year gig with Louis Armstrong and his All Stars. For the last decade of the twentieth century and for most of this century, however, she has been criminally under-recorded, despite stints with the likes of the New Orleans-based Heritage Hall Jazz Band.
Roller Coaster Boogie was recorded in Japan in 2014, where Brown was able to take advantage of the backing of Bloodest Saxophone, the great Japanese swing band, and it’s a winning combination. Brown’s voice remains a thing of virtuous beauty, as she tackles blues, jazz, R&B and pop and takes them all in her stride. On songs like “Goody Goody”, she conveys a winning combination of wry detachment and naive enthusiasm. Most notable is the suppleness and youthfulness of her voice, which is balanced by a superb technical and rhythmic ability that she never lets overwhelm the song. Equally at home on the madly upbeat “Walk That Walk Daddy-O” (with marvelously over the top sax from Koda Shintaro) or on the languidly romantic jazz of “Don’t Go To Strangers”, Brown is a wonder to listen to. She even has a more than passable crack at “Kaimono Boogie”, originally recorded by Kasagi Shizuko in the 1950s.
Bloodest Saxophone are a superb, swinging band who must be a joy to sing in front of. On a track like the upbeat blues of “Crazy Mambo” Shuji’s guitar may take the leads, but the first class mix enables the listener to enjoy some lovely, subtle fills from Mikio Ito’s piano as well as the excellent horn arrangements of saxophonists Koda “Young Corn” Shintaro and Osikawa Yukimasa and trombonist Coh. The rhythm section on THE TAKEO on bass and Kiminori on drums (with additional percussion from Kazz) keeps every song on that fine line between jazz and blues where a millisecond’s delay adds just the right amount of swing to a number.
The majority of the songs on Roller Coaster Boogie are covers, including traditional gems such as “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” (in which Brown subverts the song’s anachronistic references to domestic violence by assuming the role of the protagonist herself) and Big Maybelle’s “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show” and “That’s A Pretty Good Love”. Shintaro contributes two tracks, “Afrodesia” and “The More You Hurt Me”, both of which more than hold their own with the classic covers.
If you like your blues laced with a healthy dose of horn-driven, swinging jazz and R&B, or if you want to hear one of the great blues/R&B voices still at the top of its game, you need to check out Roller Coaster Boogie. Another 10 points to Dynaflow!