Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hold On To Me reviewed by Steve Jones

Hold On To Me
Grand Marquis
Grand Marquis Music
13 tracks

Grand Marquis were the Topeka Blues Society’s entry into the 2011 IBC and what a great band they are!  If you like jazzy, swinging, jump blues with a lot of horns, this band will rock your boat nicely.  Led by Bryan Redmond on vocals and saxes, the other members are Chad Boydston on a very evident and hot trumpet, Ryan Wurtz on guitar, Ben Ruth on upright bass and sousaphone, and Lisa McKenzie on percussion who all also provide backing vocals.  They take the listener back to the sounds of the 20’s and 30’s, when their hometown of Kansas City was the hotbed of swing and was dubbed as “Paris of the Plains”.

I love this album.  I won’t hold back and be picky here at all.  From the opening strains of “Night is For Lovers” I was hooked on them.  The bright, forward trumpet and deep baritone sax that gives ways to Redmond’s excellent swinging vocals just grabbed me and made me dance in my seat as I listened intently.  Boydston’s trumpet is solid gold- he sells song after song with his amazing solos.  Redmond is a superb singer and no slouch on the horns, giving track after track an authentic, old time sound that is ancient yet fresh.

“Topsy” is a grand old tune that has been covered by the great swing bands of by gone eras and Grand Marquis gives this song up for new audiences to appreciate and revel in.  Upbeat and with bright and blistering trumpet solos, we get to revisit and marvel at this classic.  “Sway”, “St. James Infirmary Blues/Still Blue Water” and “After You’ve Gone” are just a few of the great oldies this bands freshens up so well.  The original stuff is equally good; “Hold On To Me” and “Ain’t No Good to Me” are two examples of great new jump tunes.

If you are a “Roomful of Blues” fan I think you’ll love this band.  If you like jump blues hot and authentic, don’t delay in checking these guys out- they are both authentic and fresh in their approach.  Highly recommended!!!

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