Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Artur Menezes Keep Pushing

Artur Menezes
Keep Pushing

Menezes is a mainstay of the blues scene in his native Brazil who is based in Los Angeles. He was third place finisher in the band category at the 2018 International Blues Challenge where he winner of the Gibson/Albert King Award for Best Guitarist. This is his fourth album with a band that includes Carey Frank on keyboards, Daniel Aged on bass, Gary Novak on drums, Jamelle Adessa on brass and Dan Boisey on saxophones with producer Josh Smith adding rhythm guitar to several selections.

This is a strongly performed set of originals, mostly in a modern urban blues vein such as the opening "Now's the Time," although several tracks are in a rock vein including the driving "Keep On Pushing," where he plays some shattering guitar and "Come With Me," with perhaps too heavily distorted guitar. Much better is a nice slow "Any Day, Anytime," a tune that evokes classic Stax blues from Johnnie Taylor and Little Milton. His singing is outstanding without any hint of an accent and his guitar here is superb with its lean, clean tone. It iss followed by a sharp Albert Collins styled blues, "Should Have Never Left," with guitar that evokes the late legend.

"Love'n'Roll" is a rollicking jump blues styled with his jazzy single note playing evoking the likes of Johnny Rogers on some classic Roy Milton recordings along with a scorching trumpet solo. Then there is the funky groove of "Pull it Through," with his fuzz-toned effective, and the straight urban blues "Give My Money Back," with his string bending suggesting Albert King. "Can't Get You Out Of My Mind" is a low-key, late night blues with  nice jazzy playing, intriguing tempo changes and horn backing. "Till The Day I Die," which is too rock-based for my taste,  closes this recording. I was less enamored with the rock-rooted performances here, although they are well played. However, most of this recording had strong, impressive blues performances with his excellent singing and playing, as well as an terrific band.

I received my review copy from a publicist. This review appeared originally in the July-August 2018 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 379), although I made minor stylistic edits to that review. Here Artur Menezes performs "Should Have Never Left."

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