Maurice Tani – All In!
One look at the cover & you think this is some hokey country hoedown music but when that first track revs up, it’s heavy-duty soul-possessed blues/country on a sizzling romp. You think he’s a refined musician when he actually lights bigger melodic fires than most.
Maurice Tani cranks out tune number 1 with Nic Clark’s well-defined harmonica that enhances “Another Part of Me,” that’ll have you guessing, “is that Paul Butterfield?” This is a wonderful way to start an album.
A 10-cut set — varied in inception & recorded with finesse & clarity. Never sacrificing the groove. But this stuff is immersed in absorbing melodies & interesting lyrics & much of it’s augmented by a fresh approach to an old genre. Tani (lead vocals/guitars) leads an ensemble of versatile musicians who cruise through with old-fashioned jazzy punctuations & easy-listening vocalizations with country rollicking accessories.
“Soap & Water,” has a soulful chorale & distinguished Chris Cain guitar swipes that are bluesy & played with zeal. Produced by Kid Andersen (guitars/vocals), Jim Pugh (piano/organ) & Maurice the CD All In! (Drops Oct 15–Little Village Records) cooks.
The tunes rock, have blues spice & at times are just warm ballads with fine arrangements. Maurice has a good voice though it’s not distinguished it does excavate the melodies with good tone, intonation & sincerity.
Maurice has style but don’t expect an Elvis, Johnny Cash, or Bruce Springsteen. He holds his own well within his own boundaries with stellar musicians that enhance the entire showcase consistently. This collection has atmosphere, ambiance & Tani offers a good delivery every time. His idea of retro is to reinvent.
“Monsters In the Dark,” is like a Tom Waits composition sung by someone who was a crooner with balls. While others may just sing words Tani embellishes impressively. Chris Cain’s fiery guitar has that 50s tonality ala Les Paul stylings. Exciting stuff.
The musical influences are varied but Tani manages each with good technique. Even the slow burn of “Halo Above Her,” with its Jordanaires-like backup vocals is a satisfying winner. While “The Truth,” is a little laborious the performance is commendable & has a beautiful alto flute solo by Dr. Aaron Lington that lifts it from its plodding melody & the piano sells the song.
Redemption comes on “The Loan,” a skillful composition with solid bass, excellent singing with the steamy Aireene Espiritu, snapping drums & haunting guitar chords.
Musicians – Mike Anderson, Jerry Jemmott & Endre Tarczy (bass), June Core, Paul Revelli & Derrick Martin (drums), Lisa Leuschner-Andersen & The Sons of the Soul Revivers (vocals), DaShawn Hickman (pedal steel) & Jeanine Richardson (tambourine).
Highlights – “Another Part of Me,” “Soap & Water,” “Monsters In the Dark,” “Faith,” the ambitious “How Deep Is the Water In Your Well,” “Halo Above Her,” & “The Loan.”
Some of Tani’s Little Village song samples are available at Bandcamp.
Photo courtesy of Maurice Tani @ https://mauricetani.bandcamp.com/