Bloodest Saxophone – Texas Queens 5
Vizztone Label Group/Dialtone Records
Sexy. Dirty. Gritty. Sublime. Jumpin. And that’s just the Bloodest Saxophone work here. The vocals are even cooler.
Bloodest Saxophone is a group of 20 year veteran horn players and band from Japan. They have 11 prior recordings of their own under their belts. They have worked with the likes of Big Jay McNeely and Jewel Brown. Their sound is retro- throwbacks to that big sax sound of the 1940’s and 50’s. They are Koda “Young Corn” Shintaro on tenor, Coh “Colonel Sanders” on trombone, Osikawa Yukimasa on baritone, Shuji “Apple Juice” on guitar, The TAKEO “Little Tokyoon upright bass, and Kiminori “Dog Boy” on drums and congas. Manager Yoshinari “Kawathomas” Kawato manages these guys and brought them to Austin; Texas’ East Side Festival to play.
The Texas Queens 5 are Houston’s Diunna Greenleaf, Lauren Cervantes and Angela Miller from Austin’s Soul Supporters, Jai Malano from Austin and Crystal Thomas from Shreveport, LA (not Texas). They bring their blues, gospel, R&B, and soul from their own work into this amalgamation of great, great music.
Miller and Cervantes do all the backing vocals. Nick Connolly is the keys man. Kaz Kaznoff and Johnny Moeller also make some guest spots.
Big Maybelle first recorded “I’ve Got a Feeling” opens things and Diunna Greenlead provides some powerful vocals to set the hook for the listener with this fine CD. Greenleaf and the band turn the heat up a notch with a slightly faster tempo and make tis 1954 classic their own. Nice sax work too. That comment is pretty much for every song. Willie Dixon’s “I Just want to Make Love to You” is sung by all 5 of the ladies who aptly strut their stuff. Crystal Thomas takes her turn with “Losing Battle,” a 1962 Johnny Adams cut. Thomas played trombone for Johnny Taylor and sings southern soul with her own brand of class and sass. Rufus Thomas’ 1965 “Walking the Dog” is next with Jai Malano. She sings with power and authority, more than holding her own behind the horns and guitar. “Pork Chop Chick” is a Shintaro original and features Kaz helping out on the tenor sax and Moeller on guitar. A strutting and jumping instrumental with slick guitar and just a beautiful jump blues sound. The tenor work by both players is impeccably cool. “Run Joe” is a Joe Willoughby tune first done in 1950 by Louis Jordan. Lauren Cervantes gives it a sort of calypso soul sort of sound and the tenor is killer along with her swinging singing.
Milano returns for “It’s Your Voodoo Working,” the 1961 Charles Sheffield side that Milano and Bloodest nail. Guitar and sax growl and grab the listener after being lured in for the kill by Milano. Roscoe Robinson’s “Don’t Move Me No More” features Crystal Thomas in this uptempo version of the 1968 soul/funk hit. Slow powerful sounds come from the band and Angela Miller in “Don’t Hit Me No More.” While the topic is not so cool in today’s mindset let alone , the performance is emotional. Originally by Mabel John in 1967 and written by
Jay Mayo “Ink” Williams, this is a great side covered by some great musicians. “I Done Done It” is a 1954 Amos Milburn And His Aladdin Chickenshackers single with Milano on vocals and some high energy stuff by the band- sweet stuff! Lucky Millinder And His Orchestra first performed “The Grape Vine,” written by Carl Erskine. Cervantes delivers a jumping performance as the band swings and performs with abandon. “Cockroach Run” also has Kaz on tenor and he blows his brains out in this cool instrumental. Nice guitar work, too, here. Lafayette Thomas’ cut get a cool and fine cover to conclude this spectacular album.
Powerhouse vocals. Throwback horns and guitar. Uptempo coolness. Slow sublime-ness. I loved every cut. These boys from Japan and ladies from the Texas area really put on a show. If you like soul, R&B and jump blues then look no further. This is a killer album!