Jazz CD Reviews

Louis Prima Jr. & The Witnesses – Blow – Warrior Records

More reverie than revelation.

Published on July 4, 2014

Louis Prima Jr. & The Witnesses – Blow – Warrior Records

Louis Prima Jr. & The Witnesses – Blow – Warrior Records WR 16532, 41:05 **:

(Louis Prima Jr. – vocals, trumpet; Leslie Spencer – vocals; Marco Palos – sax; A.D. Adams – drums; Ryan McKay – guitar; Gregg Fox – piano, organ; Ted Schumacher – trumpet; Philip Clevinger – trombone; Steve Pandis – bass)

There is an old disclaimer which goes along the lines: “any resemblance to persons either living or dead is purely coincidental”. Thus Louis Prima Jr. & The Witnesses : Blow, which other than a few exceptions, is a pale imitation of anything done by his father Louis Prima with Sam Butera & The Witnesses.

In the entertainment world—whether it be music, film or TV, there is generally only one original in any family whether it is Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra or Judy Garland proving that the gene pool does not always extend to the next generation. While Prima Jr. is well-intentioned, energetic, and does have some musical chops, he lacks the charisma of his father. That becomes all the more evident on the track “That’s My Home” where thanks to modern technology Prima Sr. and Prima Jr., are in a duet with Sr. taking the lead with his infectious vocal style. Nothing more needs to be said.

There are a couple of down-home rowdy tracks including the title song “Blow” where saxophonist Marco Palos gives his best in true bar-band style. Another romper is “New Orleans” which starts out well but eventually looses traction with a repetition of the vocal refrain. Finally “I Just Wanna Have Fun” featuring vocalist Leslie Spencer gives an upbeat bluesy rendition to the tune with guitarist Ryan McKay offering a couple of strong guitar licks.

If buoyant, take-no-prisoners swing music is your thing, go for the original Louis Prima.

Track List: Blow; Go Let’s Go; New Orleans; Someday; That’s My Home; Fame And Glory; Might Be Crazy; Goody Two Shoes; I Just Wanna Have Fun; Robin Hood; Those Million Things

—Pierre Giroux




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