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JC Smith Band - Defining Cool;

Cozmik Records

12 Tracks 53 min 23 sec

Style: Chicago and West Coast Blues Funk and Jump Blues  Rating: Meritable

You’ll want to dust off at least a couple of your five senses to appreciate the JC Smith Band’s “Defining Cool” release because unless you’re also familiar with their live on-stage performance, you might miss out on the total blues fun(k) package they have to offer by virtue of just listening to this CD alone. So in addition to listening, add some ‘sight’, a little hip shaking, and you’ve got a show. Go to their website and view the YouTube footage to see where I’m coming from. From son of a bluesman to DJ, JC also sports the accolade of Best Dressed Bluesman by the West Coast Blues Hall of Fame for being so ‘ghetto fabulous’.

So who is the JC Smith band? While many Bay Area Blues Society members and fans know, East Coast blues supporters may not. As the 2006 winner of the Bay Area Blues Society West Coast Blues Band of the Year winner, they join the list of other notable West Coast talents the likes of John Lee Hooker, Big Mama Thornton, and Lowell Fulson. That’s a nice crowd to be associated with.

What you get with Defining Cool is the JC Smith’s band own personal spin on some well known classic and cool Chicago style blues tunes with all the sex appeal of jazz and jump blues you’d expect from the Bay Area, to boot . Track 1 original “Rite on Time” lets us know the band has every intention of giving you what you expect and more: Mid-Meets-West Coast guitar, keyboard and horn talent (and the band’s bass and percussion provide the just-right driving rhythm). Ok, and don’t forget: I’m partial to bands with trumpets and sax. But in case you’re not, don’t think you won’t get yours—JC’s got it going on with his guitar rifts and soulful vocal delivery.

From Track 3’s Ray Charles tune “A Fool For You”, Track 11 Jimmy Smith’s “All Day Long”, and JC Smith Band original 3 tracks of danceable slide and horn vintage-knows-no-geographic-lines or time and concluding with Muddy’s Mississippi Delta “Satisfied” Track 12 (which took me back to Issaquena County MS), I think you’ll enjoy the energy that exudes off this disc. And I have to give a shout out to the band for including Track 6 “Lonesome Blues/Duke’s Blues” because I love me some Robillard….

And just for fun, let me mention that this six piece party band likes the cosmic alignment that brought together one Scorpio and Aries with two Virgos and Libras. Well, they noted it on their disc jacket so maybe I’m suppose to as well? Hey, I read my horoscope daily while listening to the blues, don’t you? Enjoy!

Reviewer Belinda Foster is a Columnist and Contributing Writer for Greenville SC Magazine “Industry Mag” and former manager of Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’Blues. She currently books blues-rock-jam musicians and is a devoted promoter and supporter of live blues root music and history, making frequent trips to “The Crossroads” and Clarksdale Mississippi, birthplace of the blues. Her column “The Upstate Blues Report” can be found on line at 

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