Chris Corcoran – Inferno | Album Review

Chris Corcoran – Inferno     

Shack Records

CD: 11 Songs, 30 Minutes

Styles: Swing/Jump Blues, Instrumental Blues, All Original Songs  

What better CD to review the day after Halloween than a musical bonfire called Inferno?

The latest offering from the UK’s Chris Corcoran roars with the big-band intensity of jump blues, forgoing sheer volume in favor of masterful melodies and prominent passion. All of the eleven songs on this album are originals: another boon. The best thing about Inferno is its flow, each track streaming effortlessly from one to the next. It’s more like a novel, each chapter interconnected and interrelated, than a computer folder containing a hodgepodge of disparate files. The worst thing? It’s thirty minutes long. Then again, short = sweet.

Widely respected as one of the UK’s finest blues guitarists, he was profiled in Issue 406 of Guitarist magazine (May 2016), with examples of his signature licks and accompanying video on its YouTube channel. Guitarist followed this in 2017 by inviting Chris to produce a series of jump blues articles and videos. The former were reproduced in Guitar Techniques, Issue 296. Chris also taught a BIMM Institute London Masterclass on October 14 and earned a spot as a finalist for “Blues Instrumentalist of the Year” in the UK Blues Awards for 2021. To top it all off, this CD is already shining in the Monthly Album Spotlight for the Blues Junction Productions. Hopefully, all this leads to greater recognition in the United States and worldwide.

Alongside Corcoran on guitars, bass and percussion are Claudio Corona on Hammond organ; Rob Pokorny and Paul Richardson on drums, Snowboy on percussion, Sean Blake on bass, and Steve Croft on keys.

One of the hardest things for any writer to do is to describe instrumental music in words. How to convey tone, timbre, harmony, atmosphere, and the overall essence of songs without lyrics? Descriptors and superlatives can only do so much, and go so far. I’ll try describing the mental pictures that spring into my consciousness as I behold my favorite sparks from this immolation.

Track one is called “Made to Move,” and it lives up to its name. From the very first notes, it grabs and holds listeners’ attention. Like a boiling pot of New Orleans gumbo, it mixes sass, spice, and the hearty meat of the blues to produce a swinging stew worth savoring. “Lost Souls,” rather than being a pensive plod, sounds like a Beach Boys track. Surfers lose themselves as they ride the waves, and you’ll lose yourself riding this one. It’s clear blue with a soothing crest. “Dark Tones” might have switched titles with the second track, because it’s got a haunting vibe. Not hellish – the Devil’s malice isn’t there – but suitable for a smoke-choked bar in purgatory. The title of the third tune made me laugh out loud. It’s a great song that should have been five seconds long, but in order to hear the “Twang of Rage,” go to the 0:47 mark. “Future Time” boasts a Latin beat, and further on down the line, “Cut & Thrust” boasts peppy Hammond organ. One thing’s for sure: you won’t feel “Burnt Out” by the time you hear the superb final number.

Buy this CD. Download it. Stream it. Whatever you do, let it kindle an Inferno within you.

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