Nick Fishman Blues Band – California Fresh
10 songs time-41:20
You can have the best musicians in the world at you beck and call, but unless you have quality songs and a strong vocalist it is all for naught. Such is the case with drummer-band leader Nick Fishman and his “blues band”. The nine originals and one cover song are enjoyable at the time of listening, but become completely forgotten afterwards. Joshua Cook at first hearing appears to be a passable singer, but after repeated listening’s there is more depth to his “blue-eyed soul” vocals. The talent of the musicians gathered here is beyond reproach and Nick is a solid jazz-influenced drummer. The soloing of the individual players is a treat for the ears. The program here is mostly a mélange of jazz, funk, soul and R&B with a few blues tunes for good measure. At the risk of over using one of my favorite descriptions, this recording grows on you.
The title tune is a jazz instrumental that shows off the exquisite horn section of Ken Moran, Charlie Gurke and Henry Hung, the piano skills of Colin Hogan and the strong drum playing of Nick Fishman. “Make It Good” is ok white boy soul music and Joshua Cook also tosses in a good but brief guitar solo. “Baby Let’s” fairs better in the vocal department and the jazzy electric piano of Colin Hogan is a nice touch. The drums keep the snappy beat.
A nice and slow piano and horn section blues is the simmering “Broke”. A song composed by Little Richard and one of his freaky clones Esquerita, “Freedom Blues”, is spritely contains seemingly endless “nah nah nah nahs”. Kid Anderson’s funky guitar and soloing breath life into “My Girl San Francisco”, a heart felt ode to the city. It also features some energetic trumpet courtesy of Henry Hung. The other instrumental “Extra Simple” is a showcase for jazzy sax and piano excursions.
The final song once again features the guitar playing of Kid Anderson on the R&B flavored “Hole Where My Heart Used To Be”.
The solid musicianship throughout this recording makes up for the lack of any memorable tunes or riffs. The musical interludes are worth the price of admission. Everything here is well intentioned, but they could surely stand some stronger songwriting. It will be well worth it to see what this talented band does next.