Dave Gross

Dave Gross
Take The Gamble

Swingnation Records
VizzTone Label Group

By Karen Nugent
August 2007

A nominee in this year’s Best New Artist category at the Blues Music Awards, Dave Gross really hits the mark on his second album, which, by the way, was produced by our own Duke Robillard, whose hot guitar playing is featured on three of the tracks.

Gross, age 22, has already played with Hubert Sumlin, (who said he’d like to take Gross on the road with him!), Bob Margolin, Popa Chubby, along with an equal share of jazz greats. This disc, pretty much divided evenly between blues and jazz – with a bit of country thrown in - shows T-Bone Walker and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown influences on guitar.

Yet along with the outstanding guitar work demonstrated by Gross, his voice is smooth, snappy and oozes style. And he moves effortlessly back and forth from blues to country, swing, and jazz.

The disc starts out tremendously with Gatemouth Brown’s "She Walks Right In" one of the best songs on the record, and one of the tunes featuring Robillard. Ditto for "I’m Leavin’ Baby," a swinging Gross original – one of nine originals on the 13-track disc. On a slow blues, "I’m So Hungry Blues," a tribute to T-Bone Walker, Gross wails.

Another standout on the disc is the last track, "Make Things Right," a smoky and gritty slow blues.

Gross switches to the jazz side of the street about half-way through the disc, with a Hot Lips Page number, "Walkin’ In A Daze. But there’s some country-like blues, straight-out country, a New Orleans-style song with a full horn section, and the swinging "I Know Your Wig Is Gone" By T-Bone Walker.

However, I could do without "You’ve Gone," a Benny Goodman-type big band swing sound complete with goofy muted horns; and "Movin’ On Down The Line" an original ballad Gross describes as a contemporary cross-over song.

Gross sings and plays guitar on all of the tracks. Besides Robillard, the musicians include Dennis Gruenling on terrific harp, Al Basile on cornet, Doug James on baritone and tenor sax, Dona Oxford on piano and organ, Arthur Neilson on upright bass and rhythm guitar, AJ Hager on Fender bass, and Matt Mousseau and Mark Teixeira on drums. The disc was recorded at Robillard’s "Mood Room" in Pawtucket, R.I.



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