Misty Blues – None More Blue
Self-Release – 2021
11 tracks; 50 minutes
Following hot on the heels of their 2020 release Weed ‘Em And Reap (reviewed in the 5 June 2020 issue) Misty Blues returns with another varied set of original music. As before, the Massachusetts band offers a multi-talented line-up with bassist Bill Patriquin also playing trumpet, drummer Rob Tatten stepping out from behind his kit to play trombone and vocalist Gina Coleman playing occasional cigar box guitar; the rest of the core band is sax player Aaron Dean, guitarist Seth Fleischmann and keyboard player Benny Kohn.
Other contributors are bassist Dan Esko, harp player Ed Moran and multi-instrumentalist Diego Mongue (Gina’s son) who contributes bass, drums and percussion; the distinctive CD artwork is also from within the family, by Michael Mongue. On the final track there is a second trumpet player, Richard Boulger, and additional vocalist Wendy Lipp. The writing credits are mainly Gina who wrote ten of the tracks here, four on her own and six in collaboration with one of Diego, Ed and Seth; Benny wrote one tune.
“My One And Only” starts with stark drums and non-verbal vocals before the band joins the jagged rhythm and we get our first taste of Gina’s powerful, deep contralto as she confesses her complete attraction to someone, abetted by solid solos from sax, guitar and organ. “I Can’t Wait” is a quieter number with Gina looking forward to the night as she heads out for the evening, the moody atmosphere created by Benny’s keys pierced by Seth’s eloquent solo and Aaron’s cool sax break, a fine track, as is the jazz-tinged “These Two Veils” that follows.
We then get two tracks that are closer to straight blues: “Bodega Blues” is built on a classic guitar riff and “Change My Luck” adds harp on a slow grinder which elicits a really deep vocal from Gina, the tune sounding like a classic Muddy Waters tune. Lenox Town, MA, is the location of Tanglewood, summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and gives its name to the next tune, “Down In Lenox Town”, which has a lighter feel from the keyboard/sax ensemble work. Harp features on that track as well as “Ready To Play” which builds up to a chorus which is well supported by the trumpet/sax combination.
Benny’s “Listen” is excellent, starting with piano and horns and developing into a catchy piece with some wordless vocalizing from Gina, in the scat singing jazz tradition, though the tune is more Crusaders than Coltrane. The horns stay on board for “Step Right Up”, the bass slot filled this time by Diego, and Gina straps on her cigar box guitar for “Days Gone By”, a stripped-down tune without keys or horns which takes us on a country back road trip as Gina reminisces. “Nothing To Lose” has sax, trombone and two trumpets (plus two additional backing vocalists adding to the choruses) making a full band production to close the album on a high note as Gina professes that she will “keep on fighting, I ain’t got nothing to lose”.
This is another accomplished album from Misty Blues who continues to make interesting albums that offer something a little different to the standard fare.