John Ginty – Bad News Travels | DVD Review

johngintydvdJohn Ginty – Bad News Travels

American Showplace Music

12 tracks

If you are an organ fan then this DVD is for you. With this recording I must say that with this album and now a DVD, Ginty may be to the blues what Keith Emerson was to rock. He adds a variety of effort, from huge and over the top solos that leave one exhausted and gasping for air when he’s done to thoughtful and soulful stuff. He is quite the keyboard player, using his B3 and other keys with aplomb!

Backed by a solid band and a cast of all-star musicians, Ginty goes high energy in this live recording with an audience in the studio. He does all the tunes off his album Bad News Travels in this first recording as part of the Live at Showcase Studios Concert Series. Located in Dover, NJ, the studio has a great sound and the musicians feed off each other, the great sound and the crowd listening in.

The DVD opens with the band jamming on some solid instrumentals called “Switch” and “Arrivals” that really begin furiously with John and his band warming things up nicely. I was breathless and spent listening. Albert Castiglia is then added to the mix on guitar and vocals for the thoughtful and poignant “Black Cat” and “Elvis Presley.” On the former, it remains so until the temperature rises to fever for a solo by Albert and then John where they just burn it up. The latter offers some more stinging solos by Castiglia as Albert sings “Elvis Presley is alive” as he describes a chance “encounter” with Elvis. Ginty adds more flavors to the pot with his big solo, too. Driving and cool stuff as Castgilia really shows his stuff off along with Ginty.

Todd Wolfe then comes on for a couple of cuts. He does “Peanut Butter” to start things off for him and he intros the song with a stinging guitar lead in, maintaining the huge guitar sound that Castiglia gave to us. He and Ginty smoke as they go back and forth with some heat on this really tight instrumental.

“Rock Ridge” follows; Ginty opens with an almost churchy sort of intro that is somewhat ethereal. The band joins in and Wolfe begins to slide into the stratosphere with him. They pick up the beat as Wolfe goes ballistic picking out a fine lead with Ginty following him solo for solo. Another high energy instrumental that is wickedly cool.

Alexis P. Suter and Jimmy Bennett on guitar (from Suter’s band) then do two songs with Ginty, “Seven and the Spirit” and “Damage Control.” Suter offers up some gravelly and almost gruff vocals; her deep voice is mesmerizing and quite gripping. The first cut is dark and soulful with a great beat and some nice work by Bennett and Ginty in support.

Castiglia returns for “Damage Control” and Cris Jacobs also joins the fray on guitar. This peppy uptempo cut has Alexis on lead vocals and harmonies by Jacobs. Jacobs and then Castiglia add some solos back to back that Ginty seems to enjoy on the video as he listens and plays along; I know I did! The two trade licks after the solos- hot stuff as Ginty grins and plays on! Castiglia offers up one verse on vocals and then all three sing together. Ginty then gives another emotional solo to close out the number.

Castiglia and Jacobs then perform “The Quirk” with Ginty. He begins things on the keys and then they all get into a funky and fun instrumental. It’s like Booker T and the MGs on steroids here with some huge organ work with a cool hook of a melody line. Castigila then grabs the hook and does a more relaxed solo to start that builts in sound and emotion and then switches off to Jacobs. Ginty comes in and then it’s back to the Castiglia as the tune just rises and rises in emotion and sound! Ginty then maintains the energy as the two axemen back him to the finish.

The band performs “Off the Cuff,” a jazzy cut that Ginty and company again kill. He and the dual drummers battle it out in a huge solo and then they all once again work things to a feverish pitch. Ginty concludes with some psychedelic organ rumblings a la Keith Emerson. Jacobs returns to the studio for “Mirrors” where he and GInty soften things up to start. It does not last too long as the band then picks up the beat and the cut begins to drive and get your feet tapping in rhythm. Then Jacobs blasts off in a Carlos Santana-esque guitar as Ginty and he play to a somewhat controlled abandon. The album concludes with the entire set of musicians returning to a frenetic “Trinity” where Ginty takes us to church at 100 miles an hour. Things slow a bit as Jacob’s guitar fill in, then Ginty changes the tempo and key. then the other axemen make things blaze as all four solo and then trade off licks; it’s spectacular.

There are two extras on the DVD.  Ginty shows us how the Hammond gets transported to gigs as an added feature and then he and Ben Elliot talk about the studio and its’ analog sound and history. Elliot describes his vintage equipment that has been used in places like Abbey Road and in support of greats like Hendrix and the Stones. Ginty offers that he has computerized version of all of Elliots’ equipment but Elliot offers the sound can never be replicated by a computer.  His real equipment and the suspended floor and ceiling and walls that do not reflect make the sound better than any digitized equipment in a home studio.

Ginty’s own band is Mike Buckman on guitar, Paul Kuzik on bass, and both Dan Fadel and Andrei Koribanics on drums. My heart was racing after this hour and a half of exceedingly frantic and big time music by Ginty, his great band and the guests.

It was powerful stuff and not for the faint of heart! I thoroughly enjoyed this DVD! Kudos to Ginty, the musicians involved and the production team at Showplace Studios for making a fine video and music!

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