1. Steel Trap
2. That Cold Feeling
3. I’d Rather Drink Muddy Water
4. Miss My Love
6. Please Send Me Someone to Love
7. Every Day I Have the Blues
The Blues Connection Article by Andrew M. Robble: The Jesse Austin Band seven piece big band combines the right amount of horn influenced jazz mixed with a cross-over blues feel, achieving a shoulder swaying’ finger snapping, shuffle sound. The heart of the band comes from the “hog-calling” vocals and Jimmy Smith-like Hammond organ sounds of Jesse Austin. I found that Austin’s raspy vocals reminded me time and again of the great Louis Armstrong. The band really swings. Blues “purists” (whatever that means) may want to write this off as not the real thing. The emotional, soulful, almost gospel vocals and church organ sound are reminiscent of Ray Charles and his large ensemble.
Jesse Austin got his musical start in the 1940’s singing with Wynonie Harris’s blues band before forming the Five Sharps with Bobby and Eddie Buster, Reggie McAllister, and Omar Williams. Jesse’s band went on to back the great Percy Mayfield for a time. Today, the Jesse Austin Band can be heard bringing their brand of jazz/ blues across the Northeast.
Roesch Records Steel Trap can be summed up in one word…tasteful. Guitarist L.A. Jones, alto and tenor saxophonist Marshall McDonald, and the Hammond organ of Austin blends perfectly. The heavy, rich, almost densely textured sound that the keyboard creates is the ideal background for the soloists to stretch out on.
The recording opens with the title track, “Steel Trap.” The band locked into a swing groove immediately and never departed for the duration of the recording. Other outstanding cuts include: Eddie Miller’s “I’d Rather Drink Muddy Water,” “Miss My Love,” and one of the finest versions of Peter Chatman’s “Everyday I Have The Blues.” Austin sings from the heart and his original compositions appear autobiographical in experiences. If Steel Trap doesn’t get your toes tapping, shoulders swaying, and hips moving, it’s time for resuscitation!
DC Blues Article by Paul Yamada: The new CD Steel Trap by the Jesse Austin Band (Roesch Records) is 38 minutes of soulful singing and shouting the blues. He successfully covers I’d Rather Drink Muddy Water, Please Send Me Someone To Love, and Everyday I Have The Blues. Austin has been singing a wide range of blues and swinging R&B material since the late 40’s, and playing Hammond organ since 1962. Austin has a deep and raspy voice that is immediately likeable. His straightforward organ playing is often at the center of these performances, surrounded by guitar, bass and drums, as well as a three piece horn section of saxes, trumpet and trombone. The horn arrangements are simple and swinging, and all three horns solo well. The guitarist is also solid, though he does wail on just a bit.
This is a very refreshing and swinging blues set, with just a hint of the jazz roots that spawned the shouting style well over 50 years ago. There are moments in Austin’s singing when he relly gets hold of a note or phrase ending and almost sounds like Joe Williams with Count Basie. The Jesse Austin Band works primarily in Connecticut, and we can only hope they travel here sometime soon. In the meantime seek out this entertaining CD.
The Blues Audience Article by Peter Jordan: Although it’s a relatively short CD, it’s good from beginning to end. Austin’s originals are punchy and laced with wit. He covers Mayfield and Memphis Slim with the respect and dignity you’d expect from far better known Bluesmen. The Connecticut musicians who backed him did a great job as well with L.A. Jones on guitar, Sharon Denton on bass, Artie Dixson on drums, Marshall McDonald on saxophones, Drake Smith on trombone and Fred Smith on trumpet. I suggest you check this one out! It is available at Tower Records. Let’s look forward to an actual live date around here in the near future.
[STEEL TRAP PREVIEW + PURCHASE]