Big Joe and the Dynaflows
I’m Still Swingin’
Big Joe Maher recruits some able and well-recognized support for this pleasing set of swing and jump blues. Most notable are Alex Schultz, long-time guitarist with Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers, and Mark "Kaz" Kazanoff, known for his saxwork and horn arrangements for Black Top Records. Jeff Sarli, who plays acoustic bass, now works with John Mooney and appeared on the Rolling Stones’ Bridges to Babylon.
Like Sugar Ray Norcia’s Sweet & Swingin’, vocalist/drummer Maher draws on a wealth of classic sources, among them Louisiana legend Smiley Lewis, B.B. King, Bobby Charles, Louis Jordan, Percy Mayfield, Roscoe Gordon and Little Milton. Best cuts: B.B.’s swinging "Early Every Morning" and Charles’ low-down "On the Other Hand."
Maher & Co. also contribute four originals, the most distinctive being the jazzy "Lex Meet Big," an instrumental showcasing Shultz’s clever guitar and Kevin McKendree on organ. John Cocuzzi adds superb vibraphones on this cut and two others, recalling the great Lionel Hampton. It’s a nice touch.
Maher is a capable vocalist who won’t surprise you (an occasional surprise is a good thing), but on the other hand, he will never be in the wrong place at the wrong time, which is essential to pulling off this style of music. It’s not effortless, they just make it sound that way.
— Bryan Powell