John Cocuzzi – Ding Dong Daddy
13 songs time-59:42
John Cocuzzi instills tons of energy into his music via his exuberant piano and vibraphone expertise. His Hammond organ playing plays more of an underlying role. His voice has a natural sounding New Orleans inflection that gives a “fonk” resonance to his delivery. Offered up here is an eclectic blend of swing, jazz, blues, ballads, boogie-woogie, standards, New Orleans piano mastery and a even a touch of country music often occurring as an amalgamation of several in one song.
John has spent over twenty five years entertaining in the Washington D.C. area as well as performing across the United States and Europe with jazz and blues greats at various festivals. He presently calls Sacramento, California his home. The musicians of choice here are up to the task of providing just the right amount of support-knowing when to lay back and when to step out into the spotlight for a solo.
Right from “jump street” John proves he surely knows how to radiate the eighty-eights, to paraphrase the New Orleans piano guru Dr. John, with a thorough piano pounding on “Swanee River Boogie”. Guitarist Jerry Krahn commits himself nicely on acoustic slide guitar on Lowell Fulson’s classic “Reconsider Baby”. Jerry’s command of various guitar styles through the course of this recording is quite extraordinary. This song also finds John in fine voice to compliment his intense piano playing.
John dusts off the vibes for the title tune as Dan Levinson makes his first appearance to display his amazing clarinet technique. Paul Kellar steps up for an upright bass solo here as well. Next the band brings forth a cool version of Jimmy Rogers’ “That’s Alright” that owes a nod to Mose Allison. A repetitious and overlong ode to a cellphone called “Call Me”, features some jaunty jazz piano styling.
“Come Sunday” is a slow melancholy jazz piece with vibes and late-night saxophone courtesy of Dan Levinson. The old chestnut “Ballin’ The Jack” finds John in New Orleans piano glory land. John’s dad Frank Cocuzzi plays delightfully jazzy drums here as well the remainder of the CD. Sexy electric piano and clarinet color the mellow love song “Nina Never Knew” in grand fashion. “Kambucha Boogie” is a hipster ode to a tea concoction purported to induce higher brain performance.
Cole Porter’s “You Do Something To Me” is taken at a sprightly pace on a swinging journey with seamless vibes and heavenly clarinet. Wow this really evokes the swing era. Mom and dad were on to something. Another instrumental “The Boss” finds some wailing sax and vibes as the tune moves along nicely. “Tennessee Waltz”, a song that Patti Page made famous is given a spare treatment with just piano, bass and drums. The slow and deliberate delivery is just way cool. This guy even does country music up right, it’s a gift. Frank Cocuzzi handles the vocal on Irving Berlin’s “They Say It’s Wonderful” with a rich, warm and lovely voice. This old standard is a delightful ending to a truly enjoyable musical excursion.
A band with such a sure grasp on various genres of music is a rare and delightful thing. The jazzy and bluesy playing is so well executed that hopefully you will do as I do and return this recording back to your stereo countless times.