Blues Underground Network
The Eli Yamin Blues Band "I Feel So Glad"
Piano, Tuba, Drums, and Vocals are perhaps not your first thought concerning the makeup of a typical blues band, but The Eli Yamin Blues Band is certainly not your typical blues band. Consisting of Eli Yamin (Piano/Vocals), Kate McGarry (Vocals), Bob Stewart (Tuba), and LaFrae Sci (Drums), The Eli Yamin Blues Band give you a whole new sense and interpretation of the blues with their new release "I Feel So Glad".
"I Feel So Glad" consists of a really interesting group of 12 songs, that for some of you, you won't equate some of them, with being blues songs. Take for instance the opening Track "Hound Dog", which to me is a hip shakin' rock n' roll song made famous via Elvis Presley. Further investigation into the origins of "Hound Dog" comes up with the fact that it was originally "a twelve-bar blues written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and originally recorded by Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton in 1952." The Eli Yamin Blues Band puts yet another new spin on it with their version that is Sultry, Slow, and jazzed up a little bit, with the great Vocals of Kate McGarry.
Another interesting song is Track 4 "Fishin' Blues", a song written by Country Blues Artist Henry Thomas and most notable covered by Taj Mahal and The Lovin' Spoonful. Sung by Eli Yamin, with background Vocals throughout, this version is roughly the same tempo as others, but with that added bit of uniqueness, via Bob Stewart's Tuba, this one really comes alive with a whole new freshness.
There are just 2 originals on "I Feel So Glad" of which Eli Yamin wrote one ("Rwandan Child") and co-wrote one with Clifford Carlson ("A Healing Song"). "A Healing Song" was originally written for Yamin's and Carlson's Jazz Musical "Message From Saturn ", and really embodies the true sense of how music, especially the Blues can have such a profound ability to heal us all, in our darkest hours.
The ability for "I Feel So Glad" to stand up and be counted as a truly unique and inspirational album, comes not only from the music chosen, but the key players in this production. " Eli Yamin, a Steinway artist, is an internationally acclaimed jazz and blues pianist, singer, composer and bandleader. As a cultural ambassador for the U.S. Department of State, Eli has performed with his quartet and his blues band in Mali, India, China, Brazil, Chile and the Balkans."
Kate McGarry's forte is in the genre of Jazz for which she had been nominated for a Grammy with one of her five albums, "If Less Is More". "The Wall St. Journal called the recording, "austere and elegant...an exceptionally appealing blend of folk and jazz ."
"Bob Stewart is a freelance concert artist, educator, and studio musician. Stewart has toured and recorded with such artists as Charles Mingus, Gil Evans, Carla Bley, David Murray, Taj Mahal, Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner, Arthur Blythe, Freddie Hubbard, Don Cherry, Nicholas Payton, Wynton Marsalis, Charlie Haden, Lester Bowie and many others both in the United States, Europe and the Far East. In their review of Blythe's album Lenox Avenue Breakdown, the editors of The Penguin Guide to Jazz called Stewart's title track solo "one of the few genuinely important tuba statements in jazz ."
"Drummer/composer LaFrae Sci believes music can heal the world and is trying to do her part one day at a time. In addition to being a founding member of the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls(williemaerockcamp.org), and a faculty member of the Middle School Jazz Academy at Jazz at Lincoln Center, LaFrae has toured, recorded and worked with a myriad of Jazz, Blues, Pop, Rock, and Hip-hop artists including Kelis, Il Divo, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Robert Lockwood Jr., Reuben Wilson, David “Fathead” Newman, Pinetop Perkins, Cyndi Lauper, Nancy Sinatra, Irene Cara and Bumblefoot ."
You would think that having four such talented individuals in the genre of Jazz, that that would over shadow the blues elements on "I Feel So Glad", but that is not the case. Certainly the infusion of Jazz is a big part of this Album, but more so as a wonderful blending with the Albums element of Blues, which make it both together, very unique and refreshing.
When I first started listening to "I Feel So Glad", I was not sure if I was really going to be able to get into it and give it a chance that I would end up liking it. It did not take me long though to realize that I was listening to something that was very special and although it may be a little different, or should I say a lot different to what most of us consider to be the Blues, it is still worth the time taken to give it a good listen.
For me, "I Feel So Glad", really took a chance that a Blues fan such as myself would find this album intriguing, but I must say that is the impression it left me with. For something a little different in your world of music, I really have no hesitation recommending you give "I Feel So Glad" a listen.
Review by John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
1. Hound Dog 3:26
2. I Feel So Glad 2:56
3. I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free 6:09
4. Fishin' Blues 4:57
5. A Healing Song 6:34
6. After Hours 6:44
7. Rwandan Child 4:55
8. Night Time 4:07
9. John Henry 2:51
10. Trouble of the World 6:02
11. Rabo de Nube 4:19
12. Shake Sugaree 3:41
Listen To Samples Here...