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Album, Single and EP Reviews

 

  Zen Blues Quartet by Zen Blues Quartet

Zen Blues Quartet cover art

Artist: Zen Blues Quartet
Title: Zen Blues Quartet
Catalogue Number: Shunyata Records
Review Format: CD
Release Year: 2005


From the Zen Blues Quartet's' MySpace page: "Comprised of some of the best session musicians in the world. This is, and was, a project about real musicians playing real music. No tricks of technology, but human beings playing at their best. Simple as that!" After reading a lot of grandiose clams made by the bands looking for the approval of my long and fluffy auditory appendages (that's ears to you) during the course of my CD reviewing, you'll forgive me for being cynical, but thankfully the music justifies the hyperbole. The first thing that brings pleasure to this Bluesbunny is the slick, spotless sound with everything well defined and given a proper place in the mix. The second is the quality of the musicianship, so maybe the claims of being some of the best session musicians in the world isn't as much B.S. as if it came from lesser players.

This CD is a mix of songs from the great and much missed masters such as Albert's King and Collins that I felt I'd known for years thanks to the ease which Zen Blues' arrangements flow. The rock solid base of Steve Ferrone on drums and Tim Scott on bass provides a foundation for this house of blues. Added to this is Jeff Young's glorious Hammond organ; never over-played and never lost in the mix. Jazzy lines and some, thankfully sparingly used, 21st century histrionics lift John March's guitar solos out of the usual blues box. Let's not over look Tim Scott's bourbon-soaked/soul-filled vocals either… The one low point, I thought, is "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You?" Don't get me wrong, there's no loss of quality in the production or musicianship, but I personally - and it is only my opinion - found the track too smaltzy and wee bit out of place.

The clean lines and polished production may not suit the kind of blues fan who prefer their music down and dirty, all sweat and plaid shirts, but there's no denying that quality and style are something the Zen Blues Quartet have in spades. Available by worldwide mail order from CD Baby.


www.zenbluesmusic.com
Reviewer:
Review Date: November 28, 2007