Such is the timelessness, sensuality, burning swing-ability and vast energy exchange of Jazz-Blues Brothers, the perfectly titled, hard swinging dual project by globally renowned pianist Jeremy Monteiro (aka “Singapore’s King of Swing”) and Italian born Hammond B-3 master Alberto Marsico that even the most attentive, discerning ears won’t be able to tell which of these nine emotionally explosive tracks appeared on the original 2014 version (released everywhere in the world then but the U.S.) and which are the three newcomers on the re-issue.
Considering the duo’s Eurasian connections and the truly international ensemble poppin’ behind them – saxophonist Shawn Letts (from Oklahoma, now in Singapore), guitarist Eugene Pao (Hong Kong native), drummer Shawn Kelley (Syracuse native, living in Southeast Asia), vocalist Miz Dee Logwood (Berkeley CA) - it makes perfect thematic sense that the first Monteiro composed jam on the set is the buoyant, tightly funked out “Olympia,” which he penned years ago while watching the L.A. Olympics on TV, imagining he had been asked to compose a theme.
The mood swings are wild, as Monteiro and Marsico commandeer the adventure from the fanciful, hipster blues-swing of “Opening Act” through the infectious, punchy strut up “Mount Olive” and the breakneck paced boppish fire of “Catastrophy” (a showcase for everyone’s otherworldly improvisational magic) and the slower simmer of Logwood’s live twist on the Etta James classic “I’d Rather Go Blind” and “Lou,” a smoky and romantic ballad inspired by one of Marsico’s great influences, Lou Rawls. The collection’s other tribute, “Jack-Pot” (referencing B-3 legend Jack McDuff) is mostly all casual cool with a lighter sense of swing, but along the way features more intense piano chords and booming drums as if to emphasize the impact McDuff has on any project by the current generation featuring the classic instrument.
The set wraps powerfully with “Wishy Washy,” an action packed boogaloo styled romp that’s been part of Marsico’s live set for years – and which was recorded (very!) remotely during the pandemic with Monteiro in his home studio in Singapore, Letts in an adjoining studio, Kelley in Thailand, Paul in Hong Kong and Marsico in Italy.
Listen to Jazz-Blues Brothers here: https://open.spotify.com/album/4atfIbKIXmMZGvVOHhr2ZK