drew zingg 001After receiving a copy, I threw Drew Zingg’s CD into the car stereo and starting with track one, “Megashine City” Drew transported me back to the late 80’s like finding a lost album from current Nashville resident, Larry “Mr. 335” Carlton.

This could have easily been the follow up to Larry’s early 90’s release On Solid Ground.

But wait, track two is a very different take on Birmingham, Alabama’s The Commodores’ “Easy” by Michael McDonald. Okay Michael McDonald brings up The Doobie Brothers Minute By Minute era which Jeff “Skunk” Baxter was such a big part of.

Okay, there were two bands that Jeff “Skunk” Baxter was a big part of, The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan which brings up production quality.  The tone and quality is like a classic Steely Dan album. Hey, in fact, Larry Carlton and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter both had Steely Dan in common.

Well, with some solid a-list players like Will Lee and Vinnie Colauta on this one, Drew Zingg just sits in the mix of that kind of west coast cool jazz fusion that all of the above people were known for that was kind of post-rock jazz fusion and not quite smooth jazz format yet. The lead lines tend to build the melodies and keep the groove going.

drew zingg 03How do you keep an albums’ worth of focus in content that sounds like it was lifted right out of a Village Recorders session recorded between 1985-1991. Well, one trip to Drew’s website gave some insight with the fact that he played guitar on the Steely Dan reunion tour as well as Donald Fagen solo gigs, Boz Scaggs and many other important sideman gigs where some of the best guitarists laid down the original tracks.

A lot of kudos have to go to George Petit’s production showing a definite analogue-trained set of ears with a ton of knowledge pulled this off. Nowadays, there is every kind of high end gear Pro Tools “plug in” but very few current engineers have any idea what settings or what frequencies need to be the focus to make the “sound.” Obviously, big desk summing amps and busses played a big part of making the music sound magnificent from the Steely Dan – Doobie Brothers golden age as well.

Drew is a great guitarist doing an album of what people who have seen him on tour would want to hear. While Drew is not breaking new ground, the production quality, playing and music could sit in with a stack of sides on a long distance drive with The Doobie Brothers’ Minute By Minute, Larry Carlton’ Strikes Twice and Steely Dan’s The Royal Scam.

Drew has some great guest vocals including Boz Scaggs on “Save Your Love For Me.”

There isn’t necessarily a revival of this era, but, the music is always in demand for 40-70 somethings and especially goes down well at a California wine country wine and cheese blues and jazz festival.

This is a well executed album that will resonate with his fans and fans of the projects that Drew has played on.

drew zingg 002Stand out tracks: “Cactus”, “Two Steps From The Blues”.

If you like Drew Zingg, you may like Larry Carlton, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter and Lee Ritenour.

–          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

–          Photos courtesy dzdap.com

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