Fans of jump, swing and boogie, rejoice: You have a new artist to play! Gus Spenos is a blues man with the shouting style of some of the all-time greats who also has serious sax chops (and the day job of being a top neurologist in Indianapolis). On If You Were Gold Baby, Spenos and his big band prove they know how to lay down tracks that make listeners want to move and groove.
On a set that mixes classic-sounding originals such as the title track with a varied selection of carefully chosen standards, Spenos teams with eight-time trombonist of the year Wycliffe Gordon and legendary drummer Cecil Brooks III. Thelonious Monk vocal finalist Charanee Wade even joins Spenos in a duet as they unearth the old Jimmy Preston song “Rock With It, Baby.”
A swinging, energetic combination of vocal tunes and instrumentals, If You Were Gold Baby is not strictly blues, though it’s heavily influenced by the genre. Spenos plays finger-snapping, horn-heavy R&B with a touch of jazz on the album’s 13 tracks, accompanied by an all-star lineup of performers. Filled with tight arrangements and cool-blowing sax, If You Were Gold Baby is sure to set listeners free and give their auditory cortexes a thrill.
“An exhilarating ride of a record. If You Were Gold Baby has its swing thing down … Gus has somehow doctored the sound of big bands and jump blues to sound like a brand new art form. It’s spontaneous and fresh, and I really dig it, baby.” – Pete Williams, Made in the Shade