Article Review

Steve Maddock: The Blues Project

The Vancouver jazz vocalist has undeniable chops, and he sounds exciting next to Brad Turner as an ‘instrumental’ soloist. No small feat!

Vancouver jazz vocalist Steve Maddock dropped The Blues Project with Cellar Music on September 3, 2021.

The album ends with the seminal song from Count Basie and Joe Williams’ 1955 record together: “Alright, Okay, You Win”.

Maddock has been singing arrangements of the song since at least 2013 in Vancouver jazz venues:

Steve Maddock has a history for The Blues Project

But The Blues Project really kicked off when he performed the song in early 2019 at Frankie’s:

That’s according to Maddock on his own website:

“In early March 2019, I was part of a weekend engagement at Frankie’s Jazz Club featuring the music of blues legend Joe Williams.

“Joining me on the bandstand was an all-star cast of west coast performers: Brad Turner (piano; trumpet) Cory Weeds (tenor sax) André Lachance (bass) and Dave Robbins (drums).

“This show was a rousing success! So much so, that we’re currently exploring other performance venues, and considering expanding the show to include the music of other prominent blues vocalists, especially Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, Big Bill Broonzy, Big Joe Turner, and Jimmy Rushing.”

-Steve Maddock

Add Chris Gestrin on piano, and have Turner consistently on the trumpet, and there’s your band for this record.

Since the 2019 gig, Maddock has gigged with this music a couple times leading up to this album release on Cellar.

I’ve long been a fan of Weeds’ tenor playing, but he sounds especially dark and luxurious on the first couple tracks. But by the time you get to “Alright, Okay, You Win”, he’s in the Illinois Jacquet bag playing jump blues licks. Impressive range!

Maddock has undeniable rhythm and scatting chops, and he sounds exciting next to Turner as an ‘instrumental’ soloist, which is no small feat. (See any Rhythm Changes Podcast guest-trumpeter who has praised Turner’s influence.)

I’d rather you listen to this album than hear me go track-by-track. Cellar gets lots of press out there in the jazz world, and you know what any album on the label will sound like.

So, put it on and kick back!

By Will Chernoff

William Ross Chernoff—known as Will to friends and colleagues—is a jazz musician, podcaster, YouTuber, and writer. He records and performs under his own name, William Chernoff.