This is a band from Kitchener that I was introduced to at the Blues Summit. They are indeed what they advertise themselves as: a brass band that plays blues. Hilliard ‘Hills’ Walter is the vocalist in this aggregation of veterans; Al Hosack, bass; Pat Furlong, drums; Bobby Becker, keys, Tim Palser, guitar and Dan Jancar, tenor sax & flute. Jancar is joined by Pat Labarbara on tenor, William Carn on trombone and Larry Bodner on alto sax, and the horns were arranged by Don Breithaupt – how’s that for a horn lineup! That they play blues is addressed in the opening “Automatic Blues” – you got to pay your dues to play the automatic blues. “High Maintenance Love” even makes room for a harmonica, played wonderfully here by Roly Platt. Hills is an excellent big band vocalist and he’s had a hand in writing all but one of the songs here, most of them being co-writes with other band members. Meg Contini does yeoman service on background vocals. The performances here are of such high quality that it’s hard to choose highlights but “Steady Rollin’ Man”, “High Maintenance Love” and “Into the Fog” are a shade more attractive. The one cover is “She’s Alright” by Joe Mendelson, as he was then known. As the only twelve bar here, it stands out a little but the horn charts are imaginative and Palser solos mightily on guitar. The concluding “One of a Kind Things” is a glorious paean to music that with its group vocal chorus serves as grand finale to an impressive debut. Kudos go to producer John ‘Beetle’ Bailey for the gorgeous recorded sound. Their web site is www.fogblues.com, you should check it out.

April 2019 - Murray Porter