PT Gazell & The Side Effects

Swingin' Easy...Hittin' Hard

Miss Max Records CC0497

PT Gazell, harmonica; Roger Spencer, bass; Chris Brown, drums; Andy Reiss, guitar; and Kirby Shelstad, vibes.

PT Gazell is an harmonica player from Tennessee who specializes in playing the diatonic harmonica rather than the full-scale chromatic harmonica. His previous CD focused on bluegrass, and on this new one he weighs in with matchless Jazz sensibility.

The opening cut, "Just You, Just Me," introduces Gazell's richness of tone on harmonica with light-hearted blowing accompanied superbly by the band. The Wes Montgomery tune "The Thumb" is delightfully explored with rhythmic complexity.

"Panhandle Rag" is a witty swinging session, and the guitar solo adds a nice relief. "If I Were a Bell" exquisitely displays Gazell's bending the notes to achieve an improvised bell-like quality.

"How High the Moon" has an emotional immediacy with Gazell shaping the phrasing, and the band kicks in just at the right moment on this enchanting offering. "September Song" is a masterpiece that is achingly beautiful with a steady stream of shapes that puts Gazell's command of control on harmonica at the top of any list.

This CD consisting of ten cuts is an innovative feat, and those who may not be fans of the harmonica, give it a try. Gazell and his ensemble will surprise and delight Jazz aficionados on this refreshingly creative effort.

by Dorothy Hill