Tony Loeffler And The Fusion Blues, Bobby Carcasses And Afro Jazz - USA Cuba: The Historical Concert

Published Monday 15th December 2014
Tony Loeffler And The Fusion Blues, Bobby Carcasses And Afro Jazz - USA Cuba: The Historical Concert
Tony Loeffler And The Fusion Blues, Bobby Carcasses And Afro Jazz - USA Cuba:  The Historical Concert

STYLE: Blues
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 154616-22725
RRP: £25.00

Reviewed by Lins Honeyman

This CD and DVD set marks a historic concert in which New Jersey Christian music veteran Tony Loeffler and his band became the first American act in 50 years to perform with a Cuban band at the famous Teatro Museo Nacional de Bella Artes venue. The Cuban band in question belongs to renowned trumpeter Bobby Carcasses and, with the help of world class musicians such as his son Roberto on keys and an outstanding 16 year old trumpet player called Jesus Anduz, they effectively give a Cuban music masterclass before Loeffler and his ragtag band lumber on stage. With a shared preference for dressing in black, songs sung in a low drawl and the obvious prison connections, Loeffler carries off more than just a passing resemblance to Johnny Cash and it's perhaps fitting that he kicks his set off with "Folsom Prison Blues" and "Ain't No Grave" - two tracks that bookend the late country legend's career. Of greater significance is how both songs encapsulate Loeffler's journey from repeat offender to a born again Christian who has changed the lives of thousands of inmates throughout his 42 year music ministry and the moments in this concert where he talks about such matters - with trademark matter-of-fact humility - are truly moving. As is always the case with Loeffler's performances, proceedings aren't always polished or note perfect but the gutsy conviction with which he and his band interpret gospel blues classics such as "Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down" and "Death Don't Have No Mercy" make up for any musical shortcomings. Ultimately, it's when Loeffler and Carcasses join forces that things really take off with the likes of Eric Bibb's "Don't Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit" morphing into Louis Jordan's "Early In The Morning" when Carcasses joins the party and the accomplished horn section lifting a rather jaunty reading of "Amazing Grace" - all of which helps both artists in their goal to promote unity between their two nations. On the DVD a fascinating behind the scenes short is thrown in for good measure whilst a CD containing mostly Loeffler's set completes this historic release.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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