Music Reviews

New York Ska-Jazz Ensemble

Get This!

Moon Ska NYC

The New York Ska-Jazz Ensemble have a new record out. I’ve been listening to it for a week now, trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to say about it. Should I name-check the pedigree of the band members (a couple of Toasters, a Skatalite, and a pair of ex-Scofflaws)? Should I babble enthusiastically about the powerful soulful vocals of guest star Caz Gardener of the Checkered Cabs (on the smokin’ rave-up “See Saw” and the torchy “Comes Love”)? Should I talk at length about how far to the jazz end of their name the NYSJE lean on tracks like the opener “Filthy McNasty,” “Arachnid,” and the title track? Should I praise the Latin feel of “Morningside,” the early Sixties call and response soul of “Yeah Yeah,” or the bass-heavy, straight-ahead ska of “Buttah”? Heap compliments on the mellow cover of Duke Ellington’s “Mood Indigo”? Wax poetic on the skilled solo work found throughout the record, not only from the band members, but from guest artists Nathan Breedlove of the Skatalites and Jay Nugent of the Stubborn All-Stars? Speak animatedly about the slick production and professional feel of the record? Express longing for drummer Johnnathan McCain to do a solo album, if only to hear more of the enchanting vocals he lets loose on “Yeah Yeah” and “Call Me”? Wildly rant about Jack Ruby Jr.’s guest toasting on an alternate take of “Buttah”?

Nope. I’ll simply say this. The New York Ska-Jazz Ensemble have a new record out. Persons of discerning taste already know this record is a must-buy, and probably already have it. Everyone else, get hep and go buy it. Moon Ska Records, P.O. Box 1412, New York, NY, 10276, http://www.moonska.com


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