Brian Cain and the Jazz Project – Painted Silence | Album Review

Brian Cain and the Jazz Project – Painted Silence

Indiana Phoenix

CD: 6 Songs, 23 Minutes

Styles: Jazz-Influenced Blues, Instrumentals, All Original Songs

What’s the difference between jazz and jazz-influenced blues? Traditional jazz typically features horns, but in the case of Brian Cain and the Jazz Project from South Australia, they substitute harmonica, guitars and bass for various brass instruments. Even though this brief journey lasts only twenty-three minutes, it’s as smooth as a ride down a lazy river. One could listen to this ensemble forever, and Painted Silence, their newest CD, is worth more than one or two plays. With quirky titles such as “Caramba” (track one) and “Diversion” (track six), these original instrumentals constitute the perfect ambiance for a night at home, one’s favorite coffee or wine at the ready. If I were to encapsulate the album in one word, it would be cozy.  

The Jazz Project consists of leading man Brian Cain on harmonicas, Steve Wilson on guitars, Peter Nixon on bass, and Jim Judd on snare drum and brushes. Painted Silence was recorded at Phoenix Studios Normanville in South Australia in September of last year.

What better way to start a jazz-influenced instrumental album than with a spicy little number called “Caramba?” Even if you don’t have a partner, its Latin groove will make you move on the dance floor. Not only that, but Cain’s harmonica and Steve Wilson’s melodic guitar phrases add flavorful dashes of pure blues. Next comes “For Rose,” a traditional slow-burner that will make listeners imagine what the lyrics might have been. Steve Wilson does more than play guitar: he caresses it, transforming its notes into sweet nothings whispered into Rose’s ear. Who was she? We’ll never know, but from the sound of this sultry mood-setter, she wasn’t a platonic friend. “Stomp for Greg” follows, an upbeat little ditty that could have been called “Shuffle for Greg.” There’s no grit here, no edge, no reason to crack the floor with one’s footsteps. As it is, your feet will be moving too fast on the floor for you to do any real stomping. “Jump” is another one of those imagine-the-lyrics tunes. Yours truly immediately thought up a first line. It’s a jumpy but not frenetic tune, reminiscent of the big-band sound of the 1940s. It’s as classic as red velvet. Track five’s entitled “Sunny Drive.” Also a leisurely one from its Sunday-afternoon pacing. Last but not least, a “Diversion” arrives,” and it’s so subtle you might confuse it with another song.

Nevertheless, all of them are winners, so bask in the Painted Silence and let all your cares fade away!

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