In 2015, the quintet that comprise Big Apple Blues set the blues world on its collective ear with their all-instrumental release, “Energy,” fusing blues, jazz, soul, and funk into an album that chronicled one single day in New York City. Well-received by fans and critics everywhere, they have just released its highly-anticipated follow-up, this one called “Manhattan Alley.” The premise herein is similar, as the band continues to expound upon the energy and vibe that drives the city that never sleeps. Admir Hadzic is on bass, Barry Harrison is on drums, Zach Zunis is on guitar, Jim Alfredson is on keys, and Anthony Kane is on harp, the principle core of players.
Many of these cuts would’ve been right at home back in the Sixties and Seventies, when it was not uncommon to have cool instrumentals all over the airwaves. Leading off is the in-your-face-funk of “You Gotta Start Somewhere,” with Chris Eminizer bringing his hi-octane sax to the party. “Take Two” could’ve easily been named “Brother Ray’s Bounce.” with Jim’s B-3 laying down a solid, jazzy, Ray Charles-ish greasy groove. “Hudson Breeze” is perfect for these hot summer days, while Zach’s spaced-out guitar lines define the uptown funk of “Steamroller.” Jim’s big-toned B-3 is at it again on the underground groove of “Subway Rumble,” and the whole things rides a born to be wild finish with the rousing “Rock On.”
The guys in Big Apple Blues continue to draw off the history and heat of NYC, giving a nod to that town’s hit-makers and movers and shakers, from Tin Pan Alley and beyond. “Manhattan Alley” takes those elements from the past to create a set with a keen eye on the future of contemporary blues! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.