Raphael Wressnig – Chicken Burrito | Album Review

Raphael WressnigChicken Burrito

Pepper Cake Records/ZYX-Music


7 Tracks/32:09

If you aren’t familiar with the work of Raphael Wressnig, it is not for lack of effort on his part. The keyboard whiz has released at least fifteen titles under his own name in the last thirteen years, in addition to making guest appearances on more than thirty other recordings. His latest was recorded in California in 2017, featuring killer support from guitarist Alex Schultz (Rod Piazza & The Mighty Flyers, William Clarke) and the incomparable James Gadson on drums (Bill Withers, B.B., Albert, & Freddie King, Ray Charles). Wressnig plays a variety of instruments including a Fender Rhodes piano, Hohner D6 clavinet, Wurlitzer piano, tambourine, and cowbell

The trio slides into a monster groove right off the bat on “Chunky Thighs,” as Wressnig’s fingers glide across the keys on his Hammond B-3 organ, generating a mesmerizing solo before letting Schultz have the last word as the song fades away. Gadson sets up a funky groove on “Nasty,” and Wressnig once again dazzles with his instrumental prowess. “Born To Roam,” written by Wressnig and Schultz with an assist from Larry Garner, has the leader contributing a spoken vocal that highlights his wandering lifestyle, with Schultz getting some room to stretch out.

The title cut is a thick slab of modern funk with stellar work from Schultz and Wressnig, the former varying his tone with effects pedals while the latter spins out one more dazzling solo segment. While the tempo slows down on “Get Down With It,” the band doesn’t let up, as Schultz wrings plenty of emotion out of his instrument’s fretboard before Wressnig provides additional coloring to the simmering arrangement. “Tiny Dog Blues” features another dose of the leader’s fluid keyboard style. The rhythm section digs in to forge another striking foundation. The closer, “One More Time,” rolls along with a shuffle groove as Schultz impresses one more time with some fine guitar picking.

Other than the short playing time, this disc is another captivating release from a player who certainly deserves greater recognition. Outstanding musicians and original material make this one worth a number of listens, with the volume up and the dance floor cleared!

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