Rick Hatfield

& The Jumpin' Bobcats

The Frill Is Gone

Rick Hatfield and the Jumpin' Bobcats deliver a wonderful set of swinging jazz inflected blues fired by Hatfield's superb harp and the fiddle attack of John Tenney; with Scott Gordon (drums) and Jeff Turner (bass) anchoring the rhythm section with great panache and an innate sense of swing.

As you can tell by the title of this CD, there is a strong sense of 'tongue in the cheek' mischievousness and fun with this band, which is continued on the opening track, 'Play Mitzy For Me', a frantic boogie with Hatfield's harp pyrotechnics matched by the exquisite swing of the gypsy/jazz inflected fiddle. 'Goin' to Chicago' is an infectious shuffle that features Hatfield's naturally bluesy vocals, beautifully understated guitar and superlative harp, Tenney, the fiddler providing delicious fills before breaking out with a stunning solo which is matched by Turner's bass repertoire.

There are shades of Grapelli permeating the relaxed swing of 'Good Evenin' Blues'; 'Cherry Red & Blue', the tale of a cherished Austin Healey, rides an hypnotic bass riff over which Hatfield's harp shimmers iridescently; whilst 'Uncommon Trains' is a live demonstration of Hatfield's dazzling technique, phrasing and imagery as he plays solo before the band segue in replete with some virtuoso violin.

The West Coast swing of 'Flip Flop', and the 50's styled jump blues of 'Right Away, Baby', with it's hip vocals and pumping bass lines, where harp and violin intertwine seamlessly, are further delights on this highly recommended set. (www.rickhatfield.com)

- Mick Rainsford
United Kingdom Music Critic