This releases finds Tony Janflone, Jr., and his band playing their regular Sunday afternoon gig at the Blues Cafe in Pittsburgh. That sounds like a good way to celebrate the blues religion....
Tony is from the Pittsburgh area. Purportedly influenced by his guitar -- playing father, Tony started playing at age nine, and by thirteen had decided to make playing the guitar his life's work. Tony is rooted in jazz, but has played all kinds of music. Tony has often been nominated as Pittsburgh's Best Jazz/Blues Guitarist. He also is a solid vocalist.
The band on this CD has a guitar, keyboard, sax, bass and drum lineup. The band is smooth, often sounding like a jazz/rock/blues/funk fusion dance band. They are a variety band that plays a variety of music. They rarely sound like a hard -- core blues band. I agree with another reviewer who said Tony's guitar style is reminiscent of Santana and Robben Ford, although I would add a somewhat diluted version of either. His guitar playing is intricate and solid throughout the CD and his vocals are nearly flawless -- although perhaps not unique.
The CD has thirteen cuts. About half of them are original. The band plays a Janflone original titled Something's Got To Give to open the CD. This song is basically about relationship issues. Something's Got To Give. The lyrics fit well. The tune is an up tempo smooth rock -- jazz number that would have the dance floor packed. The next cut is a Jimmy Reed tune, Baby What You Want Me To Do. This again is in the bands general smooth rock/blues style, but a bit more on the blues side. There is some nice Hammond sounding riffs fattening up this tune, and some nice guitar solos -- getting more and more bluesy as the cut progress.
The next three cuts are Janflone originals. Crocodile Tears is more on the rock side with a swinging, driving tempo. Another good dance tune. This again is a "relationship" theme. There's' some nice sax work here. As Tony announces to the crowd, Wish You Didn't Have To Go is a guitar ballad written for his grandparents. It is slow and more on the jazzy side. It sounds like Santana does Spyro Gyra. Some electronic keyboard filling out the sound mimicking a string line, apparently. Deliver The Goods is a jazz and R&B slanted tune with some hot guitar and sax solos. Here the keyboard is set up to sound like a horn line, and with the aid of the sax it sounds like there is a large band baking Tony. Here the them is that the latest love interest "delivers the good" -- primarily in an emotional sense.
The next three tunes are well known covers. Tony takes on The Wind Cries Mary and Hey Joe -- the first written by Hendrix and the second best known in the Hendrix rendition. While still done aggressively, I found it a bit disconcerting to hear these tunes done with a dose of a smooth "lounge" style -- complete with the keyboardist doing leads set up in the "synthesizer" mode in The Wind Cries Mary. Hey Joe is done more -- or -- less straight forward, of course much more laid back than Jimi's version. This version is almost 9 1/2 minutes long allowing for some nice guitar and sax solos. Again, the keyboard tastefully fills out the song with some prominent Hammond sounding work. The band does a tasteful version of Mustang Sally -- complete with the crowd chiming in on the "ride Sally, ride", refrain. Has nobody yet done a release consisting only of different artist's renditions of Mustang Sally? How could that miss?
We get back to originals with Gone With The Wind. Another tune done in the contemporary jazz/rock mode. The title phrase is what happens to the singer after being mistreated in a relationship. Another nice dance tune. The often covered I've Got News For You is the bluesiest tune on this CD and gives Tony a chance to play some slow blues riffs and put a little grit into his vocals. The CD closes with yet another original tune, an instrumental, Food Court Blues, again a melding of rock, jazz and blues. A nice sax solo is followed by a Hammond styled keyboard solo and a guitar solo.
This is a nice CD if you don't mind the departure from main -- stream blues. It would be a good party record. To order the release or for further information about Tony, visit: www.TonyJanfloneJr.com.
Simply click on the CD cover at left to order this CD NOW!
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