Jonno Zilber’s Winter Blues
My goodness, this album really slows down the pace. It’s so, light, so airy and such a great showcase of talented musicians. This calm, even lethargic album has a lovely blues-swing vibe to it. Interestingly, the album was recorded live at 1am for blues dancers and each song is the same slow tempo, because, well because we all know how irritating it can be to dance at length, but have different tunes blare different tempos. This album boasts no sporadic outbursts, each of the 11 songs is (relatively) the same slow pace and I can testify (from personal experience), that while this may seem monotonous, it really creates a mood, sets it, lets the mood marinate a little, then soothes the soul.
It sounds like a dark jazz bar, with a multi-coloured cocktails and smooth timber floors and low ceilings. The music seems to work its way from your hips, up through your torso and wiggles out your shoulders, especially the tune, “Never Hear The Words I Sing”. While Zilber’s own voice is perfect for the genre, perfect for the music, I feel that all the attention in this album goes to the exquisite clarinet and baritone saxophone. When the clarinet comes out, you can just close your eyes to look over the moonlit rooftops of Paris, or not, maybe you see a tall tan lady in a deep red halter-neck, her lightly tousled hair falling down past her shoulders as she sways to her sultry dance.
Or not. Maybe my imagination getting out of hand. Nonetheless, this album is less about the lyrics and more about the sensual swinging sass that is slow blues. So in a sense, it’s ability to give me mental images of slow-dancing night clubs means that the album is doing its job. The guitar is slow and the whole album is a pleasure to listen to. Take for example, “I Cry Alone”- the guitar in this song sort of borderlines jazz-blues. It is in the stunning simplicity of this song- one voice, one guitar, that the musicianship really shows. They understand the dynamics of song, or voice, of tempo, of volume, that all of these components become second-nature and the tune takes on a life of itself. It’s really great to hear tunes like this up against songs like “Winter Blues” with their heavy saxophone and sensuous swing. This album is wonderful.