Kiss My Blues
His deft hands show off the elegant side of the B-3. He never strays into that syrupy, cornball territory that's a danger zone for many artists tackling the instrument. His rich, mellow vocals are a fine complement to his fluid and jazzy organ stylings, which range from robust to romantic.
The silky strains of the opening ballad, "All Alone," let Tony Z lace sweet honey through his vocals and keyboard lines before Kiss My Blues throttles into party gear with the second track, "It's All the Same." It's the first of two guest shots by Kim Wilson, who throws down some big, bad harp, effortlessly gliding between lead and rhythm riffs and returns to grind a low-down solo on the sultry "Voodootize Me Baby."
Saxophone fans will appreciate the inclusion of Lenny Pickett. A member of the original Tower of Power horns, Pickett is a powerful force. Whether playing counter-melodies opposite the weighty B-3 ("This Tear's for You" and "You Are My Everything"), taking the solo which rolls the band into the rollicking "It's All the Same" or letting his horn weep and moan through the ballad "Communicate," Pickett's commanding sax style trills and thrills.
Other stellar players include Cornell Dupree on guitar, Chuck Rainey on bass and drummer Bernard Purdie. Together, the assembled artists demonstrate a breathtaking ability to solo, play rhythm or add just the right smoky fill line, keenly illustrating how the internal control of dynamics can mesmerize the listener. Big ain't always better, which the group illustrates on the slow-burning "Communicate," as everybody lets the instrumental accompaniment fall to a whispered hush under Tony's "Let me love you, baby" vocals.
If you're a fan of the uniquely thick sounds the Hammond B-3 creates or just dig soulful singing and original songwriting supported by a roll-back-the-rug, house party-ready group of musicians, Kiss My Blues is for you.
-- B.J. Huchtemann