Album Review of

Written by Robert Silverstein
May 18, 2022 - 5:25pm EDT
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In 2020, the band Vinyl Hampdin released their album Red and in 2022, as promised, they release a new album called Blue. The 12-track Blue continues on loudly with a stellar mix of jazzy blues, rock, pop and much more. Led by group leader, trombonist and composer / arranger Steve Wiest, Blue features the same musicians that played on Red, including powerhouse vocalist Lisa Dodd. For music fans looking for music that evokes the eclectic nature of music from the late 1960s and early 1970s, Vinyl Hampdin’s Blue more than fits the bill.

Much has been said about the musical influences on Vinyl Hampdin leader Steve Wiest, especially the Beatles, while legendary late 1960s bands such as Blood Sweat & Tears and Chicago spring to mind, considering the wide screen horn section that infuses the music on Blue. Every cut here features a group soloist that is credited in the track listing. Guitarist Ryan Davidson offers a scathing electric lead guitar solo on a number of tracks, including “Whysitgottabe (This Way)” with its guitar solo intro. Steve Wiest lets loose with a trombone solo on a track here called “U-Tube #1 The Journey.”

Other Blue highlights are plentiful, including Blue’s album-opening rave-up cover version of the Kinks’ late 1964 classic “All Day And All Of The Night” as well as a new song called “Sir Paul”. Serving as a song tribute to Beatles main man Paul McCartney, “Sir Paul” takes in just about every aspect of the timeless McCartney sound, including baroque pop, rock, 1960’s pop and funk all rolled into one killer track. With a full horn section, and including the rhythm section of Bijou Barbosa (bass) and Stockton Helbing (drums), there are a total of 11 musicians playing on “Sir Paul” making it an extravaganza of sound.

Vinyl Hampdin’s fully blown, funky, six minute cover of the 1934 classic “I Only Have Eyes For You”, featuring Lisa Dodd’s vocals, is preceded by a four minute improvisational piano solo of the same song here performed as a jazz instrumental by Eric Gunnison. Even though the original song is from nearly 90 years ago, Vinyl Hampdin revives the track in another century with much coolness. “Busy Signal” sounds like a Motown track straight out of the mid 1960s, with a soul-funk chaser.

Effectively recorded and presented, Vinyl Hampdin’s Blue is an album that has something for all music fans. From jazz fusion to funk and horn-driven pop and rock, Stevie Wiest and Vinyl Hampdin have crafted another sure-fire winner with the dynamic sound of Blue.