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Published: 2012/02/08
by Alex Borsody

Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band withThe Jamie McLean Band, Gramercy Ballroom, NYC – 1/29

Photo by Rob Chapman

Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band and The Jamie McLean band brought a good crowd to the Gramercy Ballroom on this evening, starting the show around 7:30pm and going past 11pm. Just a few weeks earlier The Jamie McLean Band recorded a live CD and DVD at the Gibson Guitar Studios in NYC with Taylor Hicks (American Idol) and Jason Crosby (Robert Randolph) sitting in on two tracks. Back again in NYC, McClean began the night by inviting the crowd to come to the front of the room and “make it a party.” He then commented on the familiar faces in the audience and got straight to the music. The band features Jamie McLean on Guitar and vocals, Ben Mars on bass and Brian Griffin on drums. Jason Crosby sat in for the entirety of the set on keyboards and violin. Mars and McClean were high energy and all smiles while drummer Brian Griffin stayed intently focused on the other two members, locking in a tight power trio.

The set mainly featured songs off the band’s most recent album Sunday Morning (with guest spots from John Popper from Blues Traveler and Nigel Hall of Lettuce). They started off with the bluesy tune “Holy Water” that included a dissonant guitar solo and had McClean trading licks back and forth with Mars. The song set a tone for the night of classic 1-4-5 blues progressions with humble and at times self-effacing lyrics. A highlight of the night was Reggie Pittman, Jaimoe’s trumpet player sitting in on a cover of Otis Redding’s “Mr Pitiful.” Jamie McClean left The Dirty Dozen Brass Band to pursue his own sound and he certainly proved it at the Gramercy.

Jaimoe is celebrating the release of his new CD Renaissance Man. He was introduced onstage as “the original Allman Brother,” and he has put together a stellar group of musicians that also features Junior Mack on vocals/guitar and Dave Stoltz (of PBR) on bass. “Rainy Night in Georgia” was a showcase for Junior Mack’s deep baritone voice. “Leaving Trunk” soon highlighted the band’s blues chops and Mack broke out his best slide work playing signature Duane Allman licks on his cherry red Gibson SG.

For “Dilemma” the band stepped aside to give Jaimoe the spotlight for a five minute drum solo. The band then stepped back onstage with the rumbling of the bass leading back into the song. Other highlights from this blues-based, jazz-infused group included the Allman Brothers’ “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More,” with a “Jessica” tease and Albert Collins’ “Black Cat Bone.”

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