Mindi And The EastWest Sessions

Bruce Von Stiers

I've been a fan of Mindi Abair for over a dozen years. I've reviewed a couple of albums by Mindi in that time. Not only was her saxophone playing excellent, Mindi has some great vocals.

Mindi has recorded several albums. She has worked with several musicians and one very special group. That group is The Boneshakers. Mindi recorded a live album with the group a while back. Her latest effort is also with the Boneshakers and is titled The EastWest Sessions. The artist listing for the album is Mindi Abair and the Boneshakers.

The album has eleven songs and a play time of forty-eight minutes. Kevin Shirley was the producer for the album. His previous work includes albums by Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa. Roy McClurg was the executive producer. He has worked with Michael Lington and other jazz musicians. The album is being released on Mindi's label, Pretty Good For A Girl Records.

The Boneshakers are made up of a diverse group of musicians. Rodney Lee is on keyboards. His work includes albums by Chris Standring and Jodi Watley. Derek Frank plays the bass and does some vocals. Besides workng with Mindi and the Boneshakers, Derek has recently played with Air Supply and is doing selected promo dates with Shania Twain. On drums and vocals is Third Richardson. His credits include albums by Dave Koz and Rick Braun. Also doing vocals is Sweet Pea Atkinson. Along with being a founding member of The Boneshakers, Sweet Pea was the lead vocalist for Was Not Was and has done backing vocals on albums by such people as Bonnie Raitt and Lyle Lovett.

There were a few extra performers on the album as well. Masa Hohama played guitar, Cornelius Mims was on bass, LJ Holoman was on keys and Xavier Dphrepaulezz did some vocals and drums. Masa has worked on albums with people like Fantastic Negrito. Cornelius has also worked with Fantastic Negrito. LJ has worked with people such as 50 Cent and Joss Stone. And Xavier has played on several albums by Fantastic Negrito.

A bit of a rock groove can be felt in the opening number, Vinyl. Mindi sings that she's in his groove like a needle on vinyl. Not only are the vocals good, the sax is great and the drums and guitar are too.

Foot stomping jazz rock starts out Not That Kind of Girl. The sax is killer all through the song that features cool piano and guitar.

Play To Win is a rocking piece about triumph over relationships and other life struggles. Near the end of the song, Mind kills it with a solo sax rip.

Pretty Good For A Girl is a monster blues rock song. Mindi sings about being tired of hearing that she plays pretty good for a girl. She lists her accomplishments, including her Grammy nomination. About three and a half minutes into the song, things wind down. You think the song is ending but then goes on for almost four more minutes with fantastic sax and guitar laden blues. An extra bit of zest is added to the song due to Joe Bonamassa making a guest appearance.

Let Me Hear It From You is a slow and heartfelt song with great vocals by Sweet Pea Atkinson.

Live My Life is such a cool rock jazz anthem that I had to get up out of my chair and groove to it while I was listening to it. Hot sax and slick guitar are what gives the song its flavor.

Freedom begins like it will be a slow and endearing blues song. Then it ratchets things up as a head bopping rock anthem with tough guitar and drums backing some slick sax.

Had To Learn The Hard Way is a blues and rock ballad with solid vocals by Mindi.

She Don't Cry No More is a harsh blues tunes featuring the vocals of Fantastic Negrito.

Subtle, yet dark and moody is Done Me Wrong.

I Love The Saxophone closes out the album. It has a folk type of styling with a toe tapping beat. You can almost hear the smile in her voice as Mindi sings the lyrics.

Great vocals, fantastic sax playing and monster rock, blues and jazz music is how I would define The EastWest Sessions. It has elements that will please just about any fan of rock, jazz and blues.

The EastWest Sessions is available now.

You can learn more about the album at Mindi's official site. That site is www.mindiabair.com .

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© 2017 Bruce E Von Stiers