Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Dave Gross Took The Gamble

I had heard strong things about Dave Gross, a young guitarist-singer who is only in his twenties. Duke Robillard has taken him under his wing and produced Gross’ CD Take the Gamble, (SwingNation Records), and even plays on three tracks. Listening to this one can understand why as Gross is enamored in the swing and jump blues that Robillard has mined so well.

Opening with a nice take of Gatemouth Brown’s She Walks Right In, he also covers Hot Lips Page, T-Bone Walker and the old standard After You’ve Gone, as well writes songs that reflect his inspirations. I’m So Hungry Blues, is a tribute to T-Bone Walker with some fine playing and the instrumental Swingin’ on All Six with some strong harp from Dennis Gruenling is really nicely delivered.

Doug James adds some sax on a number of selections including Hot Lips Page’s Walkin’ in a Daze, which also sports a nice cornet solo by Al Basile. Gross is a very accomplished player and eschews the hard rock approach of many ‘contemporary’ blues artists. He also varies things with the rockabilly romp, Once Had a Girl. Unfortunately his vocals do not come across as well. His phrasing sounds awkward and forced at times (like on the T-Bone styled I’m So Hungry Blues as well as his Moving On Down the Line).

Hopefully he will become a more natural and convincing singer as he continues to perform. He writes interesting songs and is a wonderful player with this disc showing more than simply potential, but his vocals prevent this from receiving a high recommendation.

This review appeared originally in the March 2008 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 302), although I have made minor edits. I likely received a review copy from the label or a publicist. I posted a review of Gross’ Crawlin The Walls on January 11 2012. Here is a video of Dave doing "She Walks Right In."

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