Minimalist Blues instrumentals. Billy, Paul, Chuck and Rosy got together in the early 1980s as the 11th Hour Band ' played some great rockin' blues, hit the Boston area clubs and had some wild times. They released 'Hot Time In The City Tonight' in 1985, the first record on the fledgling Tone-Cool Records imprint, and went on to play together off and on for the next few decades. They all stayed busy with other pursuits, musical and otherwise, but their unique musical chemistry and friendship kept bringing the '11 Guys' back to their original quartet. Around 2008 they decided to go into the studio to record some original instrumentals - straight-ahead, unadorned live takes, mood pieces and variations - nothing screaming, all self-contained and, well' small. After considering the possibilities for another decade or so, they decided it was time to release this music to the world as '11 Guys Quartet ' Small Blues and Grooves.' Enjoy!
In the 1980s, the 11th Hour Band was at the forefront of the Boston blues scene, recording one album before dissolving. The quartet casually regrouped in 2008 to cut eight-bar shuffles and variations over different rhythms; now these appealing instrumentals finally see the light of day. Harmonica player Richard Rosenblatt is a hip caligraphist of melody with his graceful, effortless flow of notes delivered in the spirit of Little Walter and other revered forebears. Similarly disinclined to be sloppy or overbearing, guitarist Paul Lenart turns in his most stirring work on Four Maypops and Midnight Streetcar. Control of craft and depth of feeling obviate any need for vocals. --Frank-John Hadley - DOWNBEAT Magazine
It s not often you hear an instrumental blues record as good as this. Small Blues And Grooves is all about some fat, juicy blues grooves. It s been sitting unreleased since 08, but now it s in my hot little hands and I can t wait for you to hear it. The Quartet is Paul Lenart on guitar, Bill Coach Mather on bass, Chuck Purro on drums and Richard Rosenblatt on harmonica. They got together in the early 80 s as The 11th Hour Band, played Boston area clubs and had some wild times. Releasing Hot Time In The City Tonight in 1985 on the fledgling Cool Records label, they played together off and on over the next few decades until other pursuits (musical and otherwise) got in the way. Over the years, their musical chemistry and friendship has stayed intact. Flash forward to 2008 and The 11 Guys Quartet decide to hit the studio to lay down some original instrumentals, and that s what we have here. These cuts are straight ahead live takes, mood pieces and variations- no screaming solos, with Rosenblatt s expressive harp work being the vocal element. I can t tell you why this disc sat unissued for over a decade but the band eventually decided it was time to put this thing out into the world, setting January 10th, 2020 as the release date. But I have the disc now, it s playing on my stereo, and I m digging it in a very large way. Small Blues And Grooves is 14 tracks, each named to catch the essence and feel of the song. The first single (and opening cut) Road Trippin , finds the Guys flexing their chops over a Freddie King-style groove, Rhumba Boogaloo has a tropical swing, and Down And Dirty sounds exactly like you think it would. No matter what kind of mood you find yourself in, this disc has you covered. I love the fluid musicianship and how in the pocket 11 Guys Quartet is. Masterful, understated and just plain cool, this belongs in every blues fan s collection, and I mean ALL of em. --John Kereiff, The Rock Doctor - Gonzo Okanagan Magazine, Canada
Back in the early 1980 s The 11th Hour Band played around the Boston area and later carried on playing on and off as time permitted as the four members pursued other interests, some musical, some not. In 2008 they decided to record some original material live in the studio, the accent on small, no self-indulgent soloing, just good-time blues that reflected their interests and influences. The 11 Guys Quartet includes Richard Rosy Rosenblatt on harmonica whose day job is with record companies, once Tone-Cool, nowadays Vizztone, where this album has now been released. This all-instrumental album is a treasure trove of great music and it is fun to spot the influences and references that the guys put into the music. Road Trippin opens proceedings with a Freddie King style groove, Paul Lenart s rhythm work building on classic guitar instrumentals like Hideaway; Sleepless links to Sleepwalk in its relaxed approach and the short Doggin It has a Rn B feel that perhaps references Roscoe Gordon s No More Doggin . The quartet adds some country flavours with Jackrabbit and a soul-blues element on the very catchy groove of Sweet Taste that screams out for Junior Walker to appear on sax. If you want some solid Chicago style blues check out Down And Dirty or if some Latin elements attract you the guys serve up a Rhumba Boogaloo which showcases Chuck Purro s drum work and some lung-busting harp work from Rosy. The title Swing Low might suggest a detour into gospel music but in fact it is a swing tune with Chuck s busy brush work behind Rosy s low register harp, Midnight Streetcar brings together a loose, late night New Orleans feel with some great guitar work while Swamp Ride closes the album with some of those rhythms so familiar from Slim Harpo records. This is an album that you can play from start to finish or dip into at any point and dig out a gem - these fourteen short but sweet tunes should bring a smile to all lovers of traditional blues. --John Mitchell - BLUES MATTERS Magazine (UK)