Review: BluesMix – Flat Nine

Posted on: Friday, Feb 24, 2012

cover4.jpg(Distributed by Proper Records)

Here’s a release I have to admit took me a little time to get into . . . but the wait was well rewarded on the third release from London-based four-piece BluesMix . . . whose 11 song album of original tunes, “Flat Nine”, is a little different from the current norm – a mix of soul, blues, jazz and funk grooves – which to me is very reminiscent at times of the classic Georgie Fame and Zoot Money era of the 60s, and other acts of the same ilk, together with shades of the mighty Average White Band.

The album was recorded to analogue 24-track tape at Cowshed Recording Studios in London, and produced by Joe Leach and the band – who comprise: Rob Fleming (vocals and guitar), Bob Morgan (keyboards and saxophone), Emil Engstrom (bass) and Ivan Kormanak (drums) . . . and a fine, tight outfit they are.

The opening “On Fire” sets the scene for what follows, a nice jazzy groove, courtesy of Bob Morgan’s keyboards, and the rhythm section swinging nicely behind Rob Fleming’s understated guitar and vocal. “Break My Back” turns the funk element up with a snaky guitar line and more fine work from Morgan on piano. Scottish funk giants, the previously-mentioned Average White Band are recalled on the groove of “Well Well”, with Bob Morgan showing off his saxophone prowess on this song.

The atmospheric and bluesy “Magnetise” is a treat, again with fine playing from all four band members and it swings in a nice relaxed manner; “Fortune Fails You” has a distinct New Orleans feel to it – a nice vocal from Rob Fleming here and more top saxophone from Bob Morgan. The band turn to a 60s groove on the jazzy swing of “I Really Want You Around” . . . . with nice interplay between the guitar and keyboards . . . it’s a highlight of the album!

Elsewhere, “Running Through Rain”, is a swampy funk number, with a Dr. John feel; it’s followed by the fast and swinging “Heartbreaker”, with the saxophone giving it a somewhat jazzy edge. The band return to a more bluesy feel on “Strange Feeling” . . . with the album closer, “You Blow My World Away”, being another gem . . . and back in the funk camp, with lovely guitar solo from Rob Fleming.

A fine effort from a new name to me and well worth checking out . . . something a little bit different for certain! Available from the band at gigs I’m sure, and the usual suspects on line.

GRAHAME RHODES

www.bluesmix.com

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