Drummer and vocalist Curtis Sumter has been tearing up ground in the Motor City area for a long while. His popularity comes across with smooth party blues and slow- powered dance tunes. This biscuit gives you a grand taste of his approach with his Project. Trials And Tribulations comes in with raucous harmonies and clever renditions of overworked standards. The quartet is also helped out with some premium horn and key contributions.
The Curtis Sumter Project includes Sumter, vocalist Cathy Davis, bassist Paul Baker, and guitarist Josh Ford. Baker and Ford work together in a funky tandem while also contributing vocal work. Guest musicians are: keyboardists Dave Mathis, Suzie Woodman or Big papa; axemen-vocalists Ron Lathem and Quentin Baxter; with Kelly Connors, Roy Wachtel, and The Regular Boys giving us the horns.
Turn up the party light for the opening "Ain't Doing Too Bad" and "Hip Shakin' Momma". Dance it up and the settle back for the vocal duet "You're Just Another Reason (Why I Sing The Blues)". The latter two tracks also show off their own written material. While you're in that slow groove, Lathem's knockout "Day Going Down Wrong" extends your listening pleasure. With a few select covers like Latimore's "Let's Straighten It Out" and "Broke" filling it out, this set has the ingredients of an excellent platter.
Ford lays down some very sweet, supportive and economical guitar action, and Cathy Davis answers with some very powerful vocal treatments; especially on "I'd Rather Go Blind". You get a listen of her more aggressive vocal styling on her following "Afraid To Love", which is also laced with a nice piano line. Sumter ties it all together with perfect timing, funky strokin', and a deft touch when needed. His partner in rhythm, Baker, also knows when to put the funk or slap to the bass. Whatever way you look or listen, these are fine blues by a Motown band deserving greater recognition. Just remember, you heard it here when they make it large!
No Cover Productions; P.O. Box 187; Clawson, MI 48107: or, www.nocover.net
This review is copyright © 2001 by Mark A. Cole, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.