FAME Review: Sasha's Bloc - Melancholy
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Sasha's Bloc - Melancholy

Melancholy

Sasha's Bloc

Available from CD Baby.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com)

Sasha's Bloc, in Melancholy, has managed to fuse soul with Gershwin with Goodman with rag with gypsy with Leon Redbone with, well, all the best elements of old timey musics in a spirited melange that will remind you of those great old Betty Boop cartoons, the Bowery Boys, speakeasies, gangsters, and New Orleans slightly after the Jurassic days. The basic unit hails seven members basing in bassist Alexander Gershman and singer Carina Cooper, and those two wrote everything though you'll swear you've heard every song in classic old settings already.

The band swings, sways, and sonically reminisces like master painters working on a mural magnum opus. It has garnered more than enough acclaim among fellow musicians that Melancholy features sessioneers like Lenny Castro, Maxayn Lewis, Brandon Fields, Adam Jackson, and others, that last cat turning in a great soulful Playful Blues ('n lemme tell ya, y'all, the cut is anything but playful!), singing like a toned down Otis Redding, abashed and aching. Believe it or not, though, Sasha's Bloc was formed in only 2012, but, lord lord lord, do they ever sound like they've been gigging together since '33! The Bette Midler / Manhattan Transfer-y Joke is tight as a whistle and sings like a drum - bongos, that is and, yep, I'm mixing my metaphors. You'll have to catch the song to see why.

Cooper has an agile voice, a verrrrry agile voice, and goes from sultry vamp to searing soul singer to dance hall Sadie in the wink of an eye, with a hopping horn section underwriting all the shifts and changes…until one of them steps out to take over and parade a be-bopping solo under the mirror ball. Thankfully, all members get their licks in, 'cause to do otherwise would've been a mortal sin (it's in the Bible somewhere, the gospel of St. Mingus, I believe). We sure as hell need more trombone in the music world—and tuba and bassoon, too, for that matter—and Erik Hughes provides a snappy sassy one slip-sliding where needed. There's a little bit of everything in Melancholy, but, as said, from another era, so don't be surprised if you hear yer grandpa hee-hawing from the grave as the disc plays, tunneling over to granny's resting place for one last moonlight to-do before heading off to their eternal reward. Grab that bottle of moonshine hooch from him, though, as St. Peter tends to frown upon such things.

Track List:

  • I'm so in Love (Alex Gershman)
  • Let's Dance Together (Carina Cooper)
  • Melancholy (Alex Gershman)
  • Playful Blues (Alex Gershman)
  • Rancho State of Mind (Alex Gershman)
  • Joke (Alex Gershman)
  • Paradise (Carina Cooper)
  • Universal Swing (Alex Gershman)
  • Someone Real (Carina Cooper)

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
 
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