Jim Josselyn: Blues From The Vault (Part One) – Jazz Guitar Life CD Review

If you like your Jazz/Blues greasy with a side of Wes, Burrell and a smattering of Jim Hall, then check out New Jersey’s own Jim Josselyn and his latest release to date, Blues From The Vault (Part One). This six tune set is both a testament to his love for the traditional Jazz Blues idiom coupled with the musical and life lessons he has learned along the way from teachers like the late, great Ted Dunbar and the always happening Rodney Jones. You can’t get any better than those two helping to guide your way through the sometimes foggy labyrinth we call Jazz. If Blues From The Vault (Part One) is any indication, Josselyn has taken his lessons to heart as he admirably demonstrates a fluid understanding of what it means to go from practice to full-out performance on this, his third recording!

Prelude in Blue” starts off the CD and features Josselyn, along with Organist Kyle Koehler and Drummer Noel Sagerman, exhibiting the more sensitive, soothing side of a minor Blues vamp reminding me at times of early Peter Green – think “Hypnotized” – and thanks to some warm sounding octaves during the solo section, Wes Montgomery. Koehler also gets a chance to stand out a bit as Sagerman keeps the time strong. A great introduction of what’s to come by all concerned.

Some Blues” is up next and is a ¾ Blues “…nod to Miles Davis and Jim Hall!”* It is both bluesy and funky and harkens back to the Chicken Shack days of Jimmy Smith and Kenny Burrell with Josselyn and Koehler (“Kyle takes us to church on this one”) laying down the grease nicely while also providing some engaging, almost out-side playing, conjuring up a more modern interpretation than one might expect. The Jim Hall influence no doubt. Nicely done fellas! 🙂

Speaking of influences, “Blues For Ted” pays homage to Josselyn’s old guitar teacher Ted Dunbar**. There’s a definite – at least to my ears – vibe that harkens back to Kenny Burrell’s “Midnight Blue” period with some nice chordal soloing and interesting double stops towards the end of Josselyn’ solo (“It features some of the advanced harmony Ted shared with me, first in triads and then in fourths”). Koehler tackles the changes with his own nod to past Organists like the aforementioned Jimmy Smith, Don Patterson and Larry Young to name but a few while Sagerman lays down a slight Afro-Latin groove that keeps the music flowing nicely.

The remaining tunes, the up-tempo Bop of “ETA”, the slow but swingin’ 12/8 feel of “New Orleans Guitar Funereal” and the Rodney Jones Soul-Jazz inspired title track “Blues From The Vault” – with a killer solo by Koehler – continue with the same feel and vibe that has made this album so enjoyable! To coin a phrase: Josselyn, Koehler and Sagerman have got it going on.

Of special note, “joining” Josselyn on this album is his Gibson Pat Martino signature model guitar which he won through an online contest! The guitar lends itself nicely to this Blues/Jazz outing with its warm, rich sounding tonal quality helping to keep the tradition very much alive and ongoing.

If you’re a fan of Blues/Jazz Guitar players like Kenny Burell, Wes Montgomery and Grant Green, then check out Jim Josselyn’s Blues From The Vault (Part One). I’m glad that I did and you just may feel the same 🙂

*https://jimjosselyn.bandcamp.com/album/blues-from-the-vault-part-one

** A man who should need no introduction but regrettably is not a household name in the general Jazz Guitar community. Do a Google search on Mr. Dunbar for some wonderful enlightenment.

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