Tuba Skinny has gone all out on the band’s 10th album, Some Kind-A-Shake. Recorded at the swanky The Living Room Studio, the band sounds better than ever. With a full line-up, including Erika Lewis back again on vocals, and British reed phenom Ewan Bleach, it’s a solid 14 songs of what Tuba Skinny does best.
Moldy figs will love their beautifully arranged versions of the King Oliver tunes “Too Late” and “Stealing Love,” as well as the Lonnie Johnson/Eddie Lang tune “Deep Minor Rhythm Stomp,” and the May Aufderheide classic “Thriller Rag.” This is the stuff Tuba Skinny fans travel sometimes thousands of miles to hear.
One of the hallmarks of Tuba Skinny is that its members are effortlessly versatile. Or rather, they just disregard genre barriers. They may anchor themselves in classic jazz tunes, but they’ll also do Ellington numbers like “Jubilee Stomp” and “Saturday Night Function,” as well as dance favorite, “Ballin’ the Jack,” and two wonderfully crafted originals from Shaye Cohen and Ewan Bleach: “Some Kind-A-Shake” and “Berlin Rag,” respectively.
If jazz is the bread, then the blues is the butter for Tuba Skinny. Blind Blake’s “You Gonna Quit Me” and Memphis Minnie’s “I’m Going Back Home” are perfect platforms to showcase vocals from Erika Lewis and Greg Sherman, as well as the hauntingly harmonized song “Wee Midnight Hours,” perhaps the most affecting tune on the album.
Everything on Some Kind-A-Shake, from the top-notch musicianship to the thoughtful arrangements to the kick up your heels album art by Shaye Cohn, is just splendid.