Mitch Woods - Jukebox Drive (El Toro Rhythm & Blues; El Toro R&B 206)
reviewed by Michael Macomber
Whether “Boppin’ The Boogie” or serving up burgers at a “Boogie Woogie Bar-B-Q,” piano man Mitch Woods is the epitome of cool. He rocks those eighty-eights like crazy as a “Saturday Night Boogie Man,” then stumbles in the next morning with a “Blues Hangover.” The latter track is a thrilling rhythm and blues masterpiece, thanks in no small part to Woods’ first class backing band, The Lazy Jumpers. Drummer Blas Picon not only drives the tune furiously, he also delivers a killer harmonica break.
Bassist Ivan Kovacevic provides the perfect thumping sway for the more easygoing “Blue Light Boogie,” and sax man Dani Perez contributes a brilliant strip-club solo. Guitarist Mario Cobo shines on a heart pounding rendition of John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom.” Perez and his sax take the Jerry Lee Lewis style rave up “Swell Lookin’ Babe” to unbelievable heights. Woods shows his vocal versatility on this one, morphing from a broad voiced bluesman into a shouting 1955 rocker.
The cherry in this 12-song set is the self-titled original, “Mitch’s Boogie.” Here, Woods gets to demonstrate his impeccable piano skills, to the great benefit of the listener. With seeming ease, Woods makes those keys swing, sway, and dance the night away. Amazing.