It was beginning to look like blues horn players were an endangered species but the number of albums with guest horn sections is increasing rapidly and we are now once again seeing actual albums by working horn bands coming to the fore. The Bluesland Horn Band seems to have a pool of horn players at their disposal as three of the songs have a completely different horn section. They released their fifth in October and this Edmonton-based unit has a good one in Keep it in the Shadows. The songs are all originals. The lead vocalist is Marty Cochrane and Terry Medd holds down the guitar chair. The horn players for most of the songs: tenor, John Reid; trumpet, Doug Zacharias; baritone, Pat Belliveau, and tenor/alto Steve Williams. In the engine room, Pan Sciore on bass, Gavin Sorochan, drums and Guy Plecash, organ. The program gets under way with the rocking title tune, one by Terry Medd about how politicians like to “Keep it in the Shadows” to hide their misdeeds. 

Great vocal from Cochrane and a superb piano contribution from Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne, Zacharias and Medd get the solos. Some Western swing graces Medd’s “New Suit”, a humourous story about acquiring another one (from Elvis) after a motel fire burned his old one. Plecash wrote and sings “Stone Man Blues”, a fine slow blues about lost love. He solos too on organ along with Medd. An attractive “Living on the Ceiling” channels Wolf’s “Killing Floor” riff written by tenor man Reid. Sherman “Tank” Doucette guests on harp for a lament about aging, “Old Man Blues” written by Cochrane. There are a couple of instrumentals that harken back to 50’s & 60’s R&B bands and some jazzy pieces for a nicely varied program. The horn arrangements are top notch especially given that almost every song has a different arranger credit. Their web site is www.bluesland.ca.

TBS Xmas Party!
December 2019 - Emily Burgess