Review: Jason Ricci and New Blood – Rocket No. 9
Posted on: Friday, Apr 18, 2008
JASON RICCI & NEW BLOOD
“Rocket Number 9”
(Electro Groove Records – EGRCD 502)
The latest release from Jason Ricci and his band, New Blood, sees them signed to Electro Groove Records – and “Rocket Number 9”, produced by Grammy award-winner John Porter, sees them covering all bases from rock to blues to jazz, with Ricci’s turbo-charged harmonica dominating proceedings, ably assisted by Shawn Starsky (guitar/backing vocals), Todd “Buck Weed” Edmunds (bass) and Ron Sutton (drums/backing vocals).
His style may be a little bit ‘in your face’ for some blues purists, think a more rocky and ‘busy’ style, but there is no doubt the band and Ricci lay down some great grooves, that originate from his diverse influences – people such as Sun Ra, Little Walter, Lou Reed and Gov’t Mule, and also they are virtuoso players.
A generous twelve tracks, including two clocking in at over ten minutes, kick-off with “The Rocker”, to these ears a distant cousin of the Edgar Winter Groups “Frankenstein”, with Shawn Starsky’s scorching guitar and Ricci’s harmonica to the fore; the soulful “I’m A New Man” rides along on a nice groove, before the epic “Loving Eyes”, staring out as a ballad, with an almost Eastern feel to it, interspersed again with Ricci’s harmonica, before some ferocious guitar from Starsky takes the song uptempo.
This is probably as diverse a release as I have heard in a long while, with “Dodecahedron” starting out with an Average White Band style horn salvo and funky feel, with Ricci’s harmonica duelling with Michael Peloquin’s sparkling saxophone; “Mr. Satan” – a nod to bluesman Sterling McGhee – again mixes all sorts of feels up, funky again, with more slippery harmonica from Ricci.
The title cut “Rocket Number 9”, a Sun Ra cover, starts with an almost symphonic burst of harmonica before it’s chant-like vocal comes in, with jazzy bass from Todd Edmunds – you could imagine this on a film score somewhere!
As previously stated, not one for the blues police, but give it a few listens and Ricci’s talent, and his band, shine out – probably one of the boldest releases of the year, and non the worse for it. The young man has major talent without doubt and this release captures his boundless energy and ideas – the live show must be like a whirlwind!