Title - 'The Justus Brothers'
Artist - The Justus Brothers
For those not in the know, this past May 10th, 2019 the eponymously titled debut album from The Justus Brothers came out and suddenly the world was a better place.
For this 9-track CD from the all-star group of stellar Memphis musicians who have joined together to explore new horizons in contemporary jazz is, quite easily, one of the most uplifting and colorful new releases I've personally heard in the past few years.
The new album from Memphis International Records underscores the unparalleled musicianship of the group that includes Niko Lyras (guitar), Pat Register (sax) Jason Clark (keyboards), Steve Potts (drums) and Dave Smith (bass).
Guest musicians of (and on) this new album include Latin percussionist Billy Ramirez and Memphis horn ace Scott Thompson whose trumpet has been heard on thousands of recordings over the past three decades.
Recorded over a period of three months at Cotton Row Studios in Memphis and produced by Niko Lyras and the band, The Justus Brothers features a wide range of moods and styles; all of which will have you sittin' back and kickin' back, trust me.
1. 'Fragile / Fields of Gold'
2. 'Chinese Checkers'
4. 'Miss L'
5. 'Askin' Ain't Gettin'
6. 'Hip Pocket'
7. 'King's Strut'
8. 'Garment District'
9. 'I Keep Forgetting'
It opens with the truly beautiful one-two combination of Sting's solo works 'Fragile' / 'Fields of Gold' and backs that up seamlessly with a fresh treatment of Booker T. & The MG’s 'Chinese Checkers.'
Inclusive of some rather forthright trumpet and trombone from both Thompson and Jason Yasinsky respectively, that's followed by the gorgeous Latin hipsway of 'Sabroso.'
The tempo is brought down for the lo-fi 'Miss L' before the late '80s R&B funk vibe of 'Askin' Ain't Gettin' is brought forth. Easily one of my own personal favorites on this vibrant new album, another is up next in the form of the laid back 'Hip Pocket.'
The funky 'King's Strut' is a Hammond B3-led piece of musical wonderment and that is in turn backed by the frenetic, yet cultured 'Garment District,' with the album coming to a close with a delicious, smooth jazz rendition of Michael McDonald's 'I Keep Forgetting' (with vocals from Katrina Anderson).
"We’re proud of it from a compositional point of view and think this is the best we’ve done to date," Niko Lyras spoke of the album as a totality, adding, "We’re mature about it all with none of that ‘I wish I had done something different’ second guessing."
"As far as naming the group was concerned, the ‘Brothers’ part was easy as we’ve all played together in one combination or other for more than 30 years," he continues.
"We thought about a name that would lend credibility to this type of music — it’s groove heavy with an emphasis as much on rhythm as on melody, a kind of ‘groove conversation,’ so ‘Justus” sprang to mind.”
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