Wild Heart (label)
23 August 2019 (released)
11 August 2019
Charlie Wooton Project is like a very welcome blast of fresh air in a world of so much ‘me-too’ Blues and Jazz.
Charlie Wooton himself is a New Orleans bassist with a huge pedigree, most recently with Royal Southern Brotherhood, Zydefunk and the New Orleans Suspects and he has put together a tight quartet who just lay it down with a wonderful sense of groove and incredible subtlety.
Daniel Groover is a session guitarist who has played with the likes of Snoop Dogg, De La Soul, India Irie and Robin Thicke while Jermal Watson is New Orleans born and bred and has been drumming since starting in church at the age of 10. Finally Keiko Komaki brings keyboards in a funky and soulful style which belies her Japanese origins – during her time in New Orleans she has played with Charlie Wooton, Marva Wright & George Porter Jr among a wide range of others.
So, no ‘jonnie come latelies’, this is a pickup band to dies for. Musically, they sit deep in New Orleans Jazz but there are some gorgeous Blues based and soul oriented numbers, especially when Arene Delay is on vocals.
An example of just how good they can be is the gorgeous 'One Night' which features Anders Osborne on guitar while the song just perfectly encapsulates the slow groove and deep passion that great music can bring – Ms Delay’s vocals just melt your heart and the bass line holds everything in check – it reminds me in some ways of Maria Muldaur in her prime.
For an example of the funkier side of the project check out 'Fulton Alley' with stirring B-3 work from Keiko.
Sonny Landreth features some gorgeous slide on a couple of numbers - 'Tell Me A Story' and 'Front Porch' and on the opener, 'Jaceaux' Doug Wimbush doubles up on bass but the whole album just flows with the core band making the music and leaving you with a great sense of just how good New Orleans music can be.