The Blue Flagships | Presse


Aus: Crosscut Mailorder-Katalog 2011/I 
Styx Records CD 1048

"Exquisite Liveaufnahmen von jener europäischen Band, die - zusammen mit ihren Gästen - derzeit wohl am besten den Ton der grossen Ära des Rhythm'n'Blues und Swing (ca. 1945-53) trifft."


Blues & Rhythm (England) Heft #256
Styx Records CD 1048

by Fred Rothwell

The Blue Flagships' last recording, which featured amongst others Jimmy Nelson, was enthusiastically reviewed by Paul Harris in B&R 204, and I've got to echo Paul's enthusiasm, for this new release. This time the six piece European band have regular vocalist Tommie Harris and guest Red Holloway join them on live recordings cut during a Swiss tour in March 2010, celebrating he music of Jimmy "T-99" Nelson and Al Sears. These guys are marinated in the music of the forties and fifties, the 'Truman era' as they describe it, and play it with immaculate ease and style. There are no fluffed lines or discordant endings with this crew, just beautifully performed music which sounds absolutely authentic and true to its time.

The set is a mixture of Nelson's songs (with a Big Joe Turner classic dropped in as the closer) and Sears' instrumentals featuring the classy tenor sax of Red Holloway. The Jimmy Nelson songs are sung in fine style by Alabama native Tommie Harris, who lives in Germany for many years and is a regular with the Flagships.

Red Holloway takes the lion's share of solos but the whole band gets the opportunity to shine and shine they do. There is something special about a trio of saxes - tenor, alto and baritone, swinging in unison and this is a feature throughout, but especially on the fast rocking boogie, "Sweet Sugar Daddy" and the swinging "Easy Ernie" and "She's My Baby", which also has a great T-Bone-ish guitar solo by the appropriately named W-Tone Balker. On the blues "Last Time Around", the guitar is more brittle in the early style of Johnny Guitar Watson, but this is about as modern as these guys get. "Cry Hard Luck" is a powerful rocking number with extended Pete Johnson-like piano solo by Dave Ruosch. There's a hint of thirties' big band jazz in "Baltimore Bounce" and "Nell Don't Wear No Button-Up Shoes", with Basie-like swing and Glenn Miller precision. The killer instrumental is the up-tempo "Marshall Plan", in which Red trades sax solos with Duke Seidmann (alto) and Tom Müller (baritone). Tommie gets his rounded fruity vocals around the Louis Jordan styled mid-tempo blues, "I Sat And Cried", on which Red takes an extended solo.

There really isn't a dull or duff track on the disc and I recommend it to anyone with the slightest interest in classic old style R&B.


Blues & Rhythm (England) Heft #237 (März 2009)
BLUE FLAGSHIPS/After Hour Joints
Jazz Elite Special ES 73749 (71:58)

By Paul Harris

On this album the five-piece Blue Flagships band supports a number of guests; first up being Tommie Harris who is the vocalist on a jazzy version of Floyd Dixon's "That'll Get It" and on the fine mid-paced R&B number "Don't Blame Shorty For That". Rusty Zinn is busy on seven tracks, three instrumentals on which he just plays guitar and four where he also sings in great style. The best insttrumental is "East Bay Stroll", which, naturally, is taken at a strolling pace with bluesy guitar lead and strong backing from the horn section. Of the vocal numbers I favoured "It's Love Baby", which is in a lazy mode with swinging backing and excellent sax and guitar breaks, and Rick Estrin's very slow "Equality Blues", with tenor sax, guitar and piano solos. T-Bone Walker's "Papa Ain't Salty" contains tasteful guitar with lots of bent notes and an excellent piano solo from Dave Ruosch. With other tracks originating from Lloyd Glenn and Fats Domino, the Zinn material is of high quality.
Jimmy Coe takes the tenor sax lead on the laid-back "After Hours Joint", which, apart from a 'chat' between Red Holloway and Rusty Zinn, is an instrumental. Christina Jaccard is the singer on "Fine And Mellow", which, although a different recording, is similarly jazzy to that title featured on her own recent album.
That powerhouse, Jimmy "T-99" Nelson, pops up live on three tracks, first his co-written "Cry Hard Luck", which features Gordon 'Sax' Beadle's rasping tenor sax solo, then his self-penned "I Sat And Cried", plus Doc Pomus' rousing "Boogie Woogie Country Girl", which is given an uptempo R&B treatment.
The Al Sears instrumental, "Tina's Canteen", features fine tenor sax work from "Sax" Beadle, ranging from low grunts to high shrieks, whilst, on his own composition, "That Little Town Rocks", he takes the spoken vocal and the exciting sax solos.
Backed throughout by the excellent Flagships band, this is a highly enjoyable album of sixteen by and large lengthy tracks (up to 6:45). Nice one!


BLUE FLAGSHIPS/After Hour Joints
Elite Special, 2008

"Authentischer kann man R&B nicht spielen! Mitreissende und bewegende Aufnahmen, die in der Schweiz entstanden. Neben der Standardbesetzung kommen einige Veteranen sowie US-amerikanische Gitarristen zum Zug. Eine wunderbar geglückte Zeitreise ohne Anflug von Nostalgie!"

Detlev Hoegen
Crosscut Records