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November 25, 2017


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New York Ska-Jazz Ensemble
Low Blow (Moon Ska Records)

By: Alex Steininger

The New York Ska-Jazz ensemble is just that, a splendid mixture of Ska and Jazz. A six piece band composed of some of the greatest musicians making music today. When you combine six talented minds you are never sure what the final result will be!

The CD starts off with a couple instrumentals. Nice calms jams that make you want to grove and dance at the same time. Some nice keyboards, great guitar, and a beautiful horn section line the tracks. Track three, "Mr. Pitiful," starts off with some keyboards, and then the vocals kick in. The vocals sound like they have been through a lot in life and from listening to them you can learn a lot. Next is track four, "Centrifuge." A nice, calm song which gives you the option to sit back and absorb the music, or you can opt to get up and dance to the music. The New York Ska-Jazz Ensemble has a nice, mellow sound to it. Track six, "Nasty By Nature," the pace picks up! Fast, uplifting guitars, up tempo bass, and a bright bass section leave you with only one choice, dance until you drop! Female vocals appear on "Teardrops from my Eyes." I must say one thing, female vocals add so much to songs! And this song is no exception! Guitar you can dance to, and vocals that soothe the heart! As she sings, "and it's raining teardrops from my eyes," you can't help but feel her emotions and want to cry for her. But the song is done so well you just want to dance with her and comfort her. Track twelve, "Yo' Mama," starts it off with some great bass, and then the classic ska guitar enters picking up the tempo. But then the horns enter and you feel so joyous. An upbeat song that will leave you itching to dance! This CD contains fourteen beautifully cut tracks, most of them instrumentals.

The New York Ska-Jazz Ensemble sure know how to get down to business and make you feel warm inside. Although they are mainly an instrumental band, "Teardrops From My Eyes," has to be my favorite track. With female vocals, I just melted. I am not the biggest fan of instrumentals, but the NY Ska-Jazz Ensemble do it so well, I couldn't help but get bit by their infectious bug. They have definitely made a fan out of me. But the songs being as good as they were, I couldn't help but put money in the idea they could be ten times better if they added vocals, and taking that into consideration I can only give the CD an A- rating. I wish I could give it more, but the thoughts dancing around in my head will not allow it. Once thing is for sure, these guys sure are hot! Pick up this CD!

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