The second release for Big Apple Blues, Manhattan Alley, builds on the musical foundation the band laid out on their first album, Energy. That 2015 album was a great collection of instrumentals that combined elements of blues, soul, funk, and rock into a sweet sound.
Manhattan Alley continues and adds a side of jazz to the mix. The quintet is made up of Admir “Dr. Blues” Hadzic on bass, Barry “The Baron Of The Blues” Harrison on drums, Zach Zunis or guitar, Jim Alfredson on Hammond B3 and keys, and Anthony Kane on harmonica. Guest musicians include Chris Eminizer on saxophone, Bill Vits and Kevin Jones on percussion, and Louis Rudner on acoustic bass.
Rather than go through every song for today’s review, since that would get to be monotonous, and you would get tired of reading great sound, tight band, very cool and I can’t wait to catch them live.
I love instrumentals when they are performed by a great band that seems to have one mind while playing, and Big Alley Blues has all of that and then some. They convey great emotion, happy and joyous to dark and foreboding and sometimes to all of those in a single song.
This won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, I get that, but if you like to hear a great band playing at their peak, you could do a lot worse than to check them out.
The ten tracks on this album are among the best instrumentals I’ve heard all year. Recorded live without any studio tricks, this is a great group that shows they can handle pretty much any genre. I definitely want to catch them live, and for any of you that live in or near NYC, send me a report if you catch them in a club somewhere.
If you’re in another part of the country, head to their website and be sure to check out both of their albums.