Raphael Wressnig & Alex Schultz
BluesWax Rating: 10
A Real Gift From Across The Pond
Raphael Wressnig‘s resume is impressive. He is an Austrian B-3 organ player who, as a sideman, has played with countless artists, beginning with Larry Garner, and who now fronts his own jazzy Organic Trio. Although only 32 years young, Wressnig has also absorbed the music of an older generation, including an appreciation for soul, and especially Booker T and The MG’s. So, unlike previous projects this one is all about recreating a sound first heard long before Wressnig was even born. It boils down to musicianship and emotion.
On this project he is partnered with Alex Schultz, the ex-New Yorker, who in 2004 released Think About It, and who still remains one of today’s highest regarded guitarists. As a member of the Severn All-stars, Shultz is featured on Tad Robinson’s three Severn Records recordings. Tad Robinson also guests on this project, along with Deitra Farr, “Sax” Gordon Beadle, and Kirk Fletcher. These are just a few of the guests whose names I am familiar with.
Wressnig’s gospel-styled organ intro opens the CD with Billy Preston’s “All That I’ve Got” and features a vocal by Dietra Farr and “Sax” Gordon on tenor and baritone saxes. It is followed by the MG’s “Soul Dressing” with a guitar solo from Schultz as he interprets Steve Cropper. They also tackle the MG’s “Jellybread.”
Robinson’s vocals on “Go Now” and again on Ashford and Simpson’s “Ain’t Nothing like the Real Thing” are nothing short of mercurial. Sources are widespread, but each and every track is perfectly “maxed out.” Also included are Don Nix’s “Same Old Blues,” Jim Webb’s “Wichita Lineman,” and Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come”.
Wressnig’s originals include “Tasty Dish” and “Casio Slim,” while Schultz’s “Double Bubble” electrifies. Although a “soul gift,” this album transcends genres. Wressnig and Schultz are sublime; this album has to be a contender for “Import Album of The Year,” it’s that good.
Richard Ludmerer is a contributing editor at BluesWax.
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