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Johnny Max Band – It’s A Long Road

augustus 25th, 2011 at 10:48

JMB 024

www.johnnymaxband.com

Go Johnny, go!

Canadian singer Johnny Max has already had a radio programme for six years that is somewhat misleadingly called The Sunday Morning Soul. That is because he prefers the blues, although he is not narrow-minded, just like on predecessor A Lesson I’ve Learned.

He sings twelve songs on his fifth record, mostly written together with drummer Vince Maccarone, bass player Wayne Deadder and guitar player John Findlay. They and keyboardist Jesse O’Brien draw enthusiastically from blues, soul, jazz and funk.

The four new, but experienced band members play versatilely and effortlessly. In ten out of twelve songs they are backed by Johnny Johnson – alto saxophone, Gord Myers – trombone, Steve Crowe and Kevin Turcotte – trumpets and background singer Quisha Wint. Together with Maccarone and Deadder O’Brien plays strong rhythms, but he plays rootsy solos too, while guitarist Findlay is at least as fiery and all-round here as on his own CD Fairplay.

Swinging examples are New Orleans opener Daddy’s Little Girl, the soul blues of Heading Back To You and Waiting On You, inspired by Little Feat’s Spanish Moon. Then again, Song Of New York, It’s A Long Road and You Tell Me are more than juicy, well-rounded grooves. These musical highlights also make you think: a melancholic love song for New York after 11 September 2001, a beautiful metaphor for life and a series of pressing questions for a television evangelist after yet another disaster. That way the Johnny Max Band makes music for body and mind.

***1/2

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