If you are looking for some new punchy jazzy blues, then look no further! "Here? & Gone" the second album by the award winning Ellen Whyte and Reflex Blue is a funky blend of the blues with a great jazzy feel, featuring superb vocals by Ellen Whyte.
Ellen and the guys hail from Portland Oregon, where they are having great success on the local scene, this album should be a major factor on getting their music heard by a much wider audience. "Here...& Gone" was recorded, mixed and produced in Oregon by the band and the associates of the tiny independent label Amallegory Productions Inc., who have managed to deliver a final product of high quality at a level normally associated with much larger organizations.
This is a difficult album to review, as all of the 11 tracks are so good. It begins with a track called "Feel Blue...See Light", a super start to the CD, which showcases the bands talents in a lovely swinging number. This is followed by "Climb Up", another upbeat funky number where the great rhythm supplied by the guitars is complemented by a great Hammond B3 sound and some flashy horns. Ellen's powerful vocals are well matched to the music, without dominating it.
Just as you are expecting a whole album of this upbeat jazzy Pacific Blues, you are hit with the fourth track "Circle Round", a hot, sultry, smoldering sexy sound focused on Ellen's swooping voice, as she sings of love which keeps her feet off the ground!
The strong mid-part of the album includes two particularly fine tracks, "I Can Tell" is a building swinging blues song with a slightly Latin feel, about a cheated woman. Whereas, "Who's Got The Blues?" is an instrumental that allows Gary Meziere on lead guitar, Sonny Boyardee on Bass and Jay Lundell on drums to fully display their talent. The piece also features some fine work on the Hammond B3 by Dover Weinberg, in a style reminiscent of the great Brother Jack McDuff.
The album finishes after an all too short 45 minutes with the eleventh track "Bring On A Storm", featuring some particularly fine guitar work, great horns and kept up to speed by some excellent work on the drums, but most of all it gives Ellen scope to turn up the power and sing up a storm!
To sum up this is a super album made by a group of excellent musicians and technicians, but dominated by the clear, controlled and powerful singing of Ellen Whyte, "The Neon Blonde Of The Blues".
Next Summer I am hoping to take my family to the USA, to visit Northern California, I think that we may need to go north to Portland to see Ellen and the boys perform live, reviews I have read suggest they have the whole place jumping! Until you get that chance, fellow Blues Fans I can only say one thing get out and buy this album!
Amallegory Productions Inc.
PO Box 356
Oregon City, OR 97045
This review is copyright © 1999 by Ian Webb, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.