Album Review: Jazz En Stock from the Jazz Street Boyz

Album:  Jazz En Stock
Artist:  The Jazz Street Boyz
Label:  JDC Musique

A band of self-proclaimed buskers, Jazz Street Boyz revitalize the era of Tin Pan Alley collectives when groups of street performers gathered to pitch their homespun tunes to music publishers that occupied 28th Street in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan back at the turn of the century.  Homespun music is what the duo of vocalist/tenor guitarist/banjo player Dominic Desjardins and keyboardist/trumpet player Jérôme Dupuis-Cloutier create on their sophomore release Jazz En Stock from JDC Musique.  

Based in Montreal, the duo are joined by bassist Sylvain Délisle and drummer Jonathan Gagné.  Collectively, the quartet demonstrate an open mind about making music, blending elements of Dizzyland jazz, blues, ragtime, folk, bluegrass, psychedelic rock, and bohemian pop.  Eschewing the strict definitions of these styles of music, Jazz Street Boyz go into their song-making mode with a mindset that does not adhere to one particular label.  Rather, they show a preference for making good songs regardless of where the influence came from for making the tune.

Jérôme Dupuis-Cloutier's trumpet erupts into vibrant blazes set off intermittently across "Journée d'Amérique Latine," supplying the old-time jazz brouha while guitarist Dominic Desjardins serves a tinge of bluegrass strings in the melody. The rhythm section played by bassist Sylvain Délisle and drummer Jonathan Gagné cauterize a catchy pulse that accentuates the playful mood of the track.  The modern glint in "Cheap Shot" is managed by the fuzzy effects of Desjardins' guitar riffs, merging bohemian pop and psychedelic rock, updating the music of Jimi Hendrix and The Who.

Speaking about updating familiar breeds, "Yearning" has a Beatlesque tint with Desjardins vocal strides recalling of John Lennon.   Cloutier plays storytelling-like verses on the piano that move the song along at a contemplative pace.  The rockabilly texture of the guitar strings are buoyed by jumping blues drumbeats through "Sherbrew" as Cloutier's trumpet flares in an ebb and flow pattern.  The quartet changes course in "Irish Pearl," beveled in a Dizzyland style from Desjardins banjo and a homespun country folk strumming in the vane of Tin Pan Alley collectives.  The band's remake of "St. James Infirmary," an American jazz tune made popular by Louis Armstrong in 1928, is reconditioned with electrified instruments, creating a country folk coalescence that further surrounds the listener in veritable merriment.

Covering music cultures from Tin Pan Alley collectives to Jimi Hendrix, the Jazz Street Boyz capture the spirit of the age, partnering diverse genres and combining musical influences to create a recording that does not revel in one type of music but many styles.  The quartet brings these musical facets together, showing that each is natural for the band to play. It's noticeable that the Jazz Street Boyz have a real love of life, and they translate that love into their music.

Dominic Desjardins - Tenor guitar, voice and banjo
Jérôme Dupuis-Cloutier - Trumpet, piano and Rhodes
Sylvain Délisle - Bass
Jonathan Gagné - Drummer



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