Harmonica World (England)
(Cover - Clint Hoover)
Harmonica player extraordinary
[Ed. Clint Hoover’s album arrived too late for that, so I’ve reviewed it myself...I rarely enjoy jazz, but read my rave review! Four players have cut their first collaborative CD. If this is their first, there’ll be no stopping them! Hint - Clint teaches too. Before you ask, I wrote the review BEFORE I read what the American critics had said. I’m pleased to find I agree with them, but I told it how it is - for me! It has been widely and favorably reviewed in the USA.]
Here’s acoustic jazz, but with enough allegiance to the underlying tunes that I feel I just might understand it. No crashing, distorted, over amplified noise to force me out of the room, and no excess of anxt to send me running, but a beautiful sound, and for me that’s what it’s all about, Alfie. 10 tracks are presented with a variety of mood, tempo and expression. This CD is one I will keep and play again! The 10 pieces are original compositions by the players. In brief, it’s music. I could listen to it all day, but for my heavy workload. (I have over 50 CDs I’ve never heard!!!!)
Track 2 (717) has to be my favourite. The acoustic guitar introduces it, with such a lazy afternoon, smooth and comfortable feel - that’s the word! This CD is in the comfort zone! You could play it to your mother. Harmonica techniques like the throat vibrato are not overdone; just brushed in lightly so they truly ornament the music. Here is a real master of both both harmonicas. The music swings along and gets me tapping my foot and nodding along with it. A couple of the later tracks get into what I call “Nodding Donkey Jazz”. Yeah!
If you like the intense blues message, or if you like jazz improvisation that defies recognition of a tune, forget it. But if you like to be entertained by music that tells a story, this is for you. The acoustic guitar is the stuff of dreams and the harmonica is expressive and precise, but not to a fault, and while some of the riffs lie on the instrument like an echo of ‘Toots’, it is no clone!
In later pieces where he has a solo, even the drummer sounds great, and I speak as one who HATES most drummers!
Track 3 is Ripley’s Waltz - is the dream. After a shimmering, dreamy intro where the beat is not obvious, the waltz gets stuck into the nodding donkey. Track 5 Tonguin’ Groove reminds you of the Pink Panther. The Schlep, track 6 includes a thoughtful drum solo; not the usual beat ‘em to death job! Track 7 is the slow Waltz For Warner. Now was that a 2 bar quote from Bluesette? When Harry Met Sal as the final track is a nice tune. I really enjoyed reviewing this. Only space, the final frontier, prevents me from waxing lyrical.