Winter Blue Collar Blues

Blue Collar Blues

On February 26, the Chubby Pickle hosted the bimonthly gathering of Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation member bands. This event is produced and promoted by board Member Joseph Vincent Riggio through his J v ARCHER ENTERTAINMENT group. December’s show, which featured The Incinerators with Tad Schaefer & the 3rd Degree, was such a success that local blues fans were clamoring for another great double bill, and Joseph delivered with Jump Back and the Gary C Band.

The “COVID capacity” crowd gave a warm welcome to Jump Back, and were rewarded with a terrific set of tunes, many from their latest CD, “Blues in the Red”. The eight tunes played from that disc included covers of the blues staples “Hoochie Coochie Man”, “Crossroads” and “Red House” done with fresh new arrangements that showcased the excellent guitar work of Jack Piccolomini, the outstanding rhythm section of John Charles on bass and Emilio Ramil on drums, and the expressive harmonica of Wayne Kessler. While Wayne is the front man, lead vocals were shared by the other members, and the strong backing vocals elevated the songs, especially the originals, “Blues in the Red” and “Blow the Roof”. Jump Back has only been on the scene for a few years, but they have established themselves as a band to be reckoned with.

Gary Cavico is a veteran of the Jersey Shore Blues scene, so much so he was invited to share the Paramount Theater stage in 2017 for the concert that followed the screening of the movie “Asbury Park: Riot Redemption Rock N Roll”. His latest group, Gary C Band has him accompanied by long-time horn man Frank Frasche, who also sat in with Jump Back for a few tunes on sax, George Somers on bass, and John Dafinis on drums. Gary and the band brought their unique take on some great old seldom heard tunes including the Tony Joe White chestnut “Polk Salad Annie” and Mojo Nixon’s “All Liquored Up”. Frank’s great sax fills countered Gary’s soaring solos, while the rhythm section kept the songs percolating. One of my favorites was their rendition of “Mystery Train,” a song that I always would request from Sonny Kenn before he moved to Florida. With a number of great guitarists in the room, Gary was nice enough to let two of them sit in for the last few numbers. First Tad Schaefer dueled with Gary then Bob DelRosso came up to close the night out with a rousing version of ”C.C. Rider”.

What a great night. The acts for the April show have not been released yet but next month’s Sunday Jazz Café featuring The Mighty Burners and Evalve Jazz with Erez Lirov is scheduled for March 28th from 3-7pm.