Friday, October 02, 2015

Sean Costello In the Magic Shop

Its been a bit over 6 years since Sean Costello passed away from an accidental overdose at the age of 29. His musical legacy cut short by his premature passing, we should be thankful that VizzTone for making available "In the Magic Shop," a Fall 2005 session recorded at The Magic Shop in New York by Steve Rosenthal. With Costello was Paul Linden on keyboards and vibes; Melvin Zachary on bass and Ray Hangen on drums, with appearances from Matt Wauchope on Hammond B3; Brian Jackson on keyboards and various backing vocalists.

From the opening moments of a rendition of B.B. King’s “It’s My Own Fault” one is struck by Costello's performances. He establishes his presence with some fiery guitar and gritty singing with an appealing touch of gravel. Similarly impressive is his cover of Fenton Robinson’s “You Don’t Love What Love Is,” displaying a bit more of Otis Rush than the cleaner toned Robinson, but satisfying in its own way. He does a nice cover of Bobby Womack’s “Check It Out,” and tosses in a solid original R&B tinged blues “I Went Wrong.” His “Hard Luck Woman” is a a down home swamp blues boogie with a touch of Tony Joe White whereas he ably does a Rod Stewart cover on “You Wear It Well.” Impressive is his spare touch to open “Told Me a Lie” before the disc closes with a cover of Johnny Fuller’s “Fool’s Paradise,” a remarkable, restrained performance.

VizzTone is to be thanked for making “In the Magic Shop” available. Sean Costello may have been taken from us way too soon, but his legacy lives on. 100% of the profits from this release will benefit the Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bipolar Research (, so not only is one getting a great recording, but helping a wonderful cause.

I received my review copy from VizzTone. I have made minor changes from the review that appeared in the January-February 2015 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 358). Here is Sean performing “It’s My Own Fault.”

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