Saturday , April 20 2024
New Aaron Comess album fulfills promise of earlier work.

Music Review: Aaron Comess – ‘Blues for Use’

[amazon template=iframe image&chan=default&cat=local&last=30&wishlist_type=Similar]Drummer Aaron Comess, probably best known as a founding member of the Spin Doctors, is not one to rest on his laurels. A true artist looks to reach beyond his grasp, to extend himself, and his recent albums as leader of his own trio, playing his own compositions are clear demonstrations of what a talented musician can do when he allows himself to stretch. His 2011 album, Beautiful Mistake, was a significant indication of what Comess could do.  It promised even more for the future, and scheduled for release in May is the realization of that promise, his new album Blues for Use.

Working again with guitarist Teddy Kumpel and Richard Hammond on electric bass, Comess has put together another set of fine original tunes. Throw in a pinch of rock, a cup of jazz, some blues and you’ve got a recipe for some excellent listening. Rather than looking at the album as a collection of individual isolated pieces, he talks about it as a coherent whole: “I’ve always thought of records like a movie where each song is new scene.” Moreover, he says, with the fervor of the committed artist: “I want every note and moment of these songs to count and have meaning, like a Aaron-Comess-Blues-for-Use-smsong with words.” As the poet Keats admonished, it is the business of the artist to “load every rift with ore.” Blues for Use shows what instrumental music can do when it takes care of business.

Bookended by “Surprise, Part 1” and “Surprise, Part 2,” the set displays much of the musical development one might expect from Comess given the kinds of things he was doing on his earlier album, but with some surprises. There is the hard rocking “Hard Ball” with its lyrical moments, the country twang of “Sunrise,” and the spacey moments of “Bajelirious.” There are also the relentless rhythms of “Gorilla.” “Casa Colonial” could have been featured in a Western movie, as it fairly reeks of men in the saddle, and the title song, itself, is one sweet bit of blues.

Both Kumpel and Hammond are solid whether rocking or mellowing out. They clearly buy into what Comess is selling, and listening to the product, it is easy to see why.
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