Jeff Chaz – Chronicles | Album Review

jeffchazcdJeff Chaz – Chronicles

JCP Records 2014

10 tracks; 47 minutes

Jeff Chaz is based in New Orleans where he has recorded three studio albums that are now out of print, so this compilation allows Jeff to have something to sell at gigs until his next project comes to fruition.  All the material here was written by Jeff who sings and plays guitar with  Greg Villafranco or John Autin on keys, Douglas Potter or Doug Therrien on bass and Allyn Robinson, Michael Sollars or Barry Flippen on drums.  Horns by AJ Pittman are added on four tracks.

“Tired Of Being Lonely” is an upbeat opener with the catchy rhythm well supported by horn riffs.  Jeff sings in a clear, deep voice and demonstrates an ability to move into falsetto at times. “Instrument Of Pleasure” is a slower tune with some interesting lyrics but a great deal of vocal shifts into the higher register, a feature which rapidly outstays its welcome in this reviewer’s opinion.  Jeff’s guitar here works well on the verses but falls into the ‘overwrought’ category in the solo.  An appropriately funky approach is used on “I Smell Something Funky” – that being the blues, according to Jeff, who proceeds to delivers some wild, almost discordant guitar in his solo.  “Morning Coffee” is an instrumental along similarly funky lines with some fine organ playing along the way.  The slower “Dreams Don’t Lie” finds Jeff in more restrained mood, both vocally and on guitar before a female vocal from the strangely named ‘Tomato’ adds variety on the rapid-fire shuffle “Don’t Go Monkeying Around” which benefits from the horns returning to beef up the sound.

Jeff’s sense of humour comes through well on “Seafood Dept. Blues”: Jeff is working all hours in a seafood store and the smell that comes from that work causes some misunderstanding with his girlfriend.  “The Scent Of A Woman” has a nice line in “the scent of a woman is the non-sense of a man”, a good vocal from Jeff in his deeper voice and a well-controlled slide solo.  “Hello Blues” has a solid rhythm in Jeff’s tribute to his muse: “Hello, blues, it’s good to see you again. You’re always there when I need you, just like a dear old friend” but also features some rather discordant guitar that detracts from the tune.  The album closes with some more wry humour in “I’ve Got To Be Clean” which rocks along with the horns in support to provide a strong finale to the selection.

Whilst it is always good to find musicians writing and playing their own material Jeff’s distinctive approach to vocals and guitar did not appeal to this reviewer.

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