Review: Dave Gross – Take the gamble
Posted on: Tuesday, Jul 24, 2007
Dave Gross – Take the gamble
SwingNation Records SNCD 388006
When I read that Dave Gross was only 22 years old, my heart sank. I expected yet another plank spanking guitar hero. I did not expect a great-sounding CD filled with a balanced selection of blues, covering styles ranging from gypsy jazz influenced swing , through the swing groove of the 1940s right through classic shuffle grooves and country picking to modern soul and funk. That’s quite a lot of material for one short CD but the lofty aim is carried off pretty well.
For me the vocals are often the weakest point when young guys play the blues. It’s true that Dave Gross does not sing like Wynonie Harris or Ray Charles but he does deliver the songs adequately in a style that hides his tender years. His guitar playing is very good indeed and covers a number of tones. The secret to the excellence of the tones is given in the sleeve notes – the CD was recorded at Duke Robillard’s “Duke’s Mood Room” studio in Rhode Island and it seems that as well as some sound advice from Duke, Dave was given the run around of Duke’s guitar collection using desirable guitars such as several 1950’s Gibsons, Strats, Teles and an old Epiphone. The band along with the guest artists deserve a mention; the backing is excellent throughout. As a harmonica player I immediately recognised the guest spots by the excellent Dennis Gruenling – a man with unique tone.
The stand out songs for me are “After you’ve gone” with the band firmly in 1930’s swing mode, the Collins-esque funky groove of “That’s all you get” and the sweet slow blues of “Make things right”
This CD is a great romp through the blues genres. It’s great to see such a young man playing with chops, tone and taste. Very enjoyable indeed.