• Tuesday , 17 October 2017

Zach Bingham -Honkey Tonic

Zach Bingham -Honkey Tonic Jeffrey Yelverton

Summary:

3.5

Zach Bingham delights us once again with his new album Honkey Tonic. As the title suggests, it is an excellent fusion of jazz, rock and country music. Much like a legendary sushi chef, Zach blends these three related but different genres into a tasty treat that is sure to satisfy a Jazz fan’s heart.

The fun begins with an opening guitar riff accompanied with the electric organ in the chart “Chirp”. With its rhythmic sharp edges and content, staccato hits you can effectively imagine a hip fat funky bird chirping along to this tune. Immediately the mood changes to a black and white film noir scene with a smoking gun and cigarette in hand. The sultry sax lines fill your ears with cityscapes while the piano twinkles like the night sky with its very Hollywood crescendos to accent phrases. Overall my favorite song on the whole cd.
The self-titled track is what you expected (there is nothing wrong with that), a masterful honky-tonk matched with traditional jazz form. I say matched and not mixed because this is clearly a country song with jazz influences and not the other way around. You can definitely tip a hat to it and its rocking guitar solo.
Now comes “Long as I Can See the Light” and Zach’s “Cliffs of Dover”. A soft yet memorizing guitar solo piece that you can almost hear the words of the title float out of the guitar. The follow-up song is what I would call a jazz lounge mixed in with some twang. I’m not sure if I am drinking some martini or herding cattle to the horizon but which you prefer it’s a well-crafted song. The piano and guitar dance around each other while the drums lay down a lovely splash of color – a fantastic use of cymbals and brushwork throughout.
A jazz record is never complete without a dance chart and “Pin-Up” gives the much-loved samba groove a piece of Zach’s genius. Littered with his signature mellow guitar melodies and the lavish piano runs that happen often this is a tasteful mix of genres with the Latin influence never lost in the shuffle.
Zach’s guitar skills are on showcase with “Pulley Bone”. Much like “Honkey Tonic”, it is another country tune infused with jazz except this time with much less rock influence. The album ends with “Waylaid”. I think this is a very appropriate ending because it is the most traditional of all the charts. Bring them to a close this fusion album with a classic jazz feel helps us not forget the origin of this work.
I dig this album. It is great to hear a lead guitar in jazz with so many trumpet and sax players running around. Also, a fusion of genres that might be over-looked by most was done tastefully without compromising either influence. It is indeed a unique sound but it is well polished and performed passionately.

Recommended if you like Kenny Burrell, King Crimson and Mahavishnu Orchestra

Jeffrey Yelverton
Jeffrey’s love for music comes from a mixed matched youth. If it wasn’t his dad blaring Lynyrd Skynyrd in the car or his mom basking in the hits from the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, then it was just him tying to enjoy the music. Currently, Jeffrey saves the world one off-beat at a time while also sharing his love for all aspects of music either by doing music history research or debating the best albums over a beer.

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