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The Rhythm Rockets
Take Off

When lovely Nicole Kestler breathily leads an inspired reading of the standard "Fever," halfway through the Rhythm Rockets' latest release, Take Off, she could melt an iceberg in the dead of winter. This is my professional opinion and I'm sticking to it.

I suppose the rest of the Chicago-based septet has their charms as well. The Rockets have obviously patterned themselves after the jump blues bands of the '40s and '50s, and those roots are reflected in tight, sax-driven arrangements on "Pachuko Hop," and "Tina's Cantina," as well as a superb reading of Big Bill Broonzy's "Trouble In Mind." With three sax players as well as guitars, piano and drums backing up Kestler's steamy vocals, the band can switch from fat blues thumpers to smoky standards in a heartbeat.

However, there are also some inspired excursions here, particularly Andy Blanco's originals like "Shuffle of the Damned," which would be perfectly at home backing up shadow dancers in New Orleans. Blanco also composed "Vampire of Love," a clever and well-written song portraying one of the grand femme fatales of the world.
The Rhythm Rockets bring a rich blend of influences that build a fine foundation for the septet's obvious plethora of talent. Sweet home Chicago, indeed
.

—S. Clayton Moore



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Jeff Potter & The Rhythm Agents—Rhythm Riot
Lee Press-On & The Nails—El Bando en Fuego!
Rhythm Rockets—Take Off
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