Cool Disposition
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Cool Disposition

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Band Blues Americana


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"John Ziegler CD Review - Jumping In The Mudd"

CD review / Cool Disposition
By: John Ziegler , Duluth News Tribune

The title of the brand-new disc from Cool Disposition is "Jumping in the Mudd," a clear reference to the group's collective love of the music of Muddy Waters. But, as it careens through my speakers, it seems that Muddy is really one step removed and that the direct inspiration is the legendary Fabulous Thunderbirds and their classic late '60s and early '70s albums that spread the blues gospel to a whole new generation.

Whatever the spark that helped ignite the creation of "Jumping in the Mudd," I'm glad the tinder was dry, because this group has come up with a new disc that is stellar. It balances moments of off-kilter rhythms and solid, maddeningly catchy grooves. There are harp solos that explode like Mount St. Helens and carefully manicured guitar rides. It has moments of passion over precision with howling harmonics, and brooding vocals that transmit their intensity almost telepathically. "Jumping" covers a lot of ground, and does so with aplomb.

"What Comes Around" has that regal shuffle style that feels like you're sailin' on cruise control down the turnpike in a Cadillac De Ville with a V-8 motor and wide chrome wheels. Group founder and frontman Mickey Bauer penned this one about a possessive and vindictive male whose creed is "an eye for an eye." Bauer tears into lyrics like a starving puma on "Drag me through the mud, you're gonna' get muddy too" and "Tread on me, I'm gonna' do some treadin' too." Boston native Harold Tremblay's harp ride is smooth and silky, while the guitar sounds like it's stuck in a New Orleans swamp.

"Put Your Money Where Your Big Mouth Is" has got that T-Birds grit and gristle, with text about making a difference in the world. Guitarist Dan Schwalbe's insistent rhythms put musical scaffolding around a solid fusion of lyric and groove. His solos echo the clipped, staccato sound of Stevie Ray's big brother, Jimmie, that trumps the usual swift-fingered mayhem favored by so many current blues axe-slingers. Schwalbe delightfully ignores the S.O.P. of too many notes and goes the economy route. Throughout the disc the guitar always seems to find parts that are right in the pocket.

Ex-Lamont Cranston and Hoopsnake piano pounder Bruce McCabe played with members of the T-Birds back in the '70s with a band called Aces, Straights and Shuffles. He guests on "Messed Up" and adds just the right slinky, understated touch behind the vocal line, then steps out on a strollin' little lead full of Pete Johnson right-hand trills and cascading single-note phrases. These are bluesmen at work * no "b" in the bunch.

"Time Keeps Ticking" has that "Scratch My Back," an old Thunderbirds' classic, feel with slammin' double guitar and a burnished, spartan solo. It's followed by Tremblay's thick, creamy harp solo that is like icing on the blues cake.
The record is about to hit stores in mid January and dials in elements from Muddy's colossally important '50s bands with Little Walter and Otis Spann and the '70s Austin, Texas, connection of the T-Birds. Using their own sensibilities, Cool Dispo comes up with a concoction that, like guitar man Schwalbe's playing, is tight and right.

JOHN ZIEGLER writes reviews for the News Tribune. You can reach him at

CD Title: "Jumping in the Mudd"
Genre: Traditional blues

Recommended if you like: Muddy Waters, Lamont Cranston Band, the Fabulous Thunderbirds
Recorded at: Subterranean Blues factory, St. Paul

Members: Harold Tremblay (harp), Dan Schwalbe (guitar), Mickey Bauer (vocals), Greg Beach (bass), Marty Bryduck (drums). Guests Bruce McCabe (piano), Dave Hupp (keyboards), Steve Clarke (baritone), Sue Orfield (tenor)
Web site:
- Duluth News Tribune - Minnesota

"Mar 2009 CD Review - Jumping In The Mudd"

Cool Disposition

Jumping In the Mudd

Giddyap Records

Run Time: 66:58

How is it that a band can sound totally different than what you expect? It happens all the time to me. I read the title of this one and was expecting a very honest homage to the great Muddy Waters. Instead, what you get is very little of Muddy and a whole lot of big band, Left Coast blues swing. This Minnesota five-piece jump, jives, and wails like they’ve been hopping up and down California’s coast with George “Harmonica” Smith and William Clarke for decades. Instead, you’ve got a bunch of seasoned Upper Midwest blues veterans who count Mojo Buford as a mentor.

The band kicks into high gear on the opening cut “What Comes Around” with full tilt big band blues jump. Guitarist Dan Schwalbe compliments the baritone bravado of vocalist Mickey Bauer’s deliver y here with a series of licks a la early era B.B. King. Think of those Crown and King sides that the King of the Blues cut and you’ll see where this one comes from. The swing doesn’t stop there. The rhumba-beat “Mixed Messages” and the call and response of “She’s My Girl” are all about that great Forties era big band swing. The band is air tight and Bauer’s blues shouter mentality along with clever lyrics (which are his own) is as good as any other band falling into this type of subgenre. Sue Orfield’s horn arrangements add some great punch behind Schwalbe’s well-phrased guitar work and Harold Tremblay’s less-is-more approach to the harmonica. Tremblay definitely succeeds when he’s playing more of a rhythm role on the album, adding brass section-like layering underneath all that swing.

The band does deviate from this sound into some other influences. The Jerry Lee Lewis meets zoot suit swagger on “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is” shows how good of a vocal interpreter Bauer is. The beat is slightly slowed down to Cool Disposition’s more laid-back pace, which suits them to a tee. I don’t think the song would’ve worked had they played it in Jerry Lee’s frantic paces. Bruce McCabe on piano is a fine guest and displays his solid ivory work on the boogie woogie of “Dog Walker Blues.” He keeps the left hand right in the pocket while flowing into a solid top-end solo on this one. It reminded me a lot of the work of boogie-woogie legend Roosevelt Sykes. This band isn’t afraid to step down into the swamp either. “Time Keeps Ticking” sounds eerily borrowed from Slim Harpo’s “Scratch My Back” in places, tremolo-bound guitar and acoustic harp and all. The more R&B based “Every Hour Everyday” also has a sizable Excello Records feel to it as well.

There are some home runs and some misses here, and to some fans these songs might even run together a bit. The album though is a solid pallet of what these artists intend to paint with their live shows and their image. They are strongly and strictly in the traditional veins – just check out “Minimum Wage” and you’ll hear some scathing reactions to the guys who loathe the “Mustang Sally” crowd. This album is rock solid and is completely a ton of fun from start to finish. Cool Disposition is a good reminder that you sometimes can find good surprises in strange places.

Posted By Ben the Harpman to Juke Joint Soul at 3/21/2009 11:24:00 PM
- Juke Joint Soul Blog Reviews

"Rene Malin CD Review March 09"

Cool Disposition
Jumping In The Mudd
Giddyap! Records – GDYP 0014

Yet another good find, thanks to the Blindman's Blues Forum ! Based in Minnesota, which isn’t exactly the cradle of the blues, these good people deliver some rocking blues that, though it does remind of good old Fabulous Thunderbirds first incarnation from the Jimmy Vaughan days, also reminisces of West Coast blues à la Rod Piazza’s Mighty Flyers. The difference, that makes Cool Disposition particularity, is we deal with a band in the real acceptance of the word. There’s not a moment when the listener feels a track is just an excuse for long solos, no one here is at the service of an unquestionnable leader. On the contrary, the whole album concept is about the songs themselves. Of course, Dan Schwalbe does lay some some fine guitar solos, and, yes, Harold Tremblay is a swell harp player. As for Mickey Bauer, who’s singing is quite convincing, if is the band’s voice indeed, as well as the composer of 14 tracks out of 16, the remaining 2 being due to Tremblay, it is simply his role in the group : he’s the singer, the same way Greg Beach is on bass and Marty Bryduck is on drums. Let’s not forget the guests they have here and there, be it on piano, organ, tenor or bariton saxes, who add their efforts to the whole when the track requires it. In other words, everyone here’s at the service of Cool Disposition and their songs, never the opposite. The result is an excellent CD of today’s blues, that rocks, swings, and even "swamps" on one occasion, in a cohesiveness and skills that call for the highest respect. But beyond the obvious professionnalism displayed here, it’s the pleasure generated by listening to this sympathetic combo that makes its essentiel value, making the listener want to find out about the band’s previous discography. The kind of band one would easily imagine playing our clubs and festivals for a big helping of good time.

René Malines
- Virus de Blues - France

"Dick Shurman Endorsement"

"Congratulations!! JUMPING IN THE MUDD is a well-spent and very enjoyable hour-plus. A traditional Chicago blues feel with some extra seasonings, lots of original material and solid musicianship and vocals can bring only good things. I hope it does as well for Cool Disposition as it deserves to do!"

Dick Shurman Independent producer and historian (Robert Cray, Albert Collins, Johnny Winter)
- Blues Producer (Albert Collins, Johnny Winter, Robert Cray)

"Nov. 2007 Live Performance Review"

by Dan Lenz

November 4th 2007, 6pm-10pm
Venue: Club Saratoga
Cost: Free
Ages 21 & Older

This last Sunday night was the first opportunity to see Cool Disposition in a while. And I am glad I decided to take some time out of my normal Sunday evening on couch patrol to head down to Canal Park and enjoy some live blues. While the crowd was sadly few in number they were treated to several sets of lively, fun and danceable blues from a band that seemed unaffected by the low turnout. They were there to have a good time and play some rockin' blues. Cool Disposition is a Twin Cities Blues band filled with strong talent and many years of playing experience among its five members.

Lead singer and band founder, Mickey Bauer, leads with powerful and clear, yet smooth vocals. He does a great job of interacting and trying to engage the audience without leaving them hanging or wondering when the next song will come. His vocal approach tends to take the edge off some of the harder blues making each song sound smoother and more dance ready. Their lead guitarist is Dan Schwalbe, who according to Bauer and their Website, is the most recorded blues guitarist in Minnesota. He has a long history of playing and recording with various artists including a stint in Minnesota's godfather of the blues, George "Mojo" Buford's band. His playing is solid from the first note to the last; his interpretations of Muddy Waters and B.B. King are spot on and never over the top. His slide playing during the second set on "Sweet Home Chicago" and "It Hurts Me Too" tore up the room and showed versatility you do not always get when checking out a local live show. Harold Tremblay played a mean harp all evening long. His wide selection of harps made sure each song had a fresh sound and always in the appropriate key. Sometimes though he was a little drowned out by the rest of the band, leaving a little need to work on the mix. Finally, the tight rhythm section consisting of drummer Marty Bryduck (also formerly of Mojo Buford's band) and Bass ace Greg Beach, kept a steady beat and rounded out the sound of this great blues band. Cool Disposition was the winner of the 2006 Road to the International Blues Challenge, and represented Minnesota blues at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis Tennessee in early 2007.

Overall the band played an excellent show with a smartly selected mix of classic covers that fit their sound and style along with some fun originals with titles like "Lovin' Glow, and "Minimum Wage" where in the latter they joke about how playing the blues is like working for minimum wage. The audience also sang along with some of the more familiar covers including, "Got My Mojo Working" and did a little call and response on one of the bands originals. At one point Bauer asked the audience if this music makes them feel bad. And if it makes them want to cry in their beer? He had a great response about how it picks him up when he's feeling down and the audience clearly agreed. And that really is the story with Cool Disposition's show it is an up tempo and tailored approach to classic Chicago Blues and jump/swing blues that makes the audience tap their feet and want to sing along. The band was tight; the interplay between guitarist and harp was fantastic. The rhythm section keeps them all rolling along while the lead singer keeps the audience engaged and participating. Exactly what a good blues show should do and it was even free. I would recommend this band to anyone who enjoys good blues music, likes to dance, sign along and tap their feet.

- Dan Lenz /


2009 - Jumping In The Mudd / Independent Release

2007 / Buzz Awhile / Limited Edition EP / Independent Release

2003 / Rompin' At The Ribshack / Cold Wind Records



Famed blues producer Dick Shurman (Robert Cray, Albert Collins, Johnny Winter) has this to say about our new CD -
"Congratulations!! JUMPING IN THE MUDD is a well-spent and very enjoyable hour-plus. A traditional Chicago blues feel with some extra seasonings, lots of original material and solid musicianship and vocals can bring only good things. I hope it does as well for Cool Disposition as it deserves to do!"

Dick Shurman
Independent producer and historian

"With Jumping In The Mudd, Cool Disposition solidify their position as Minnesota’s premier blues band." Tom Hyslop Contributing Editor Blues Revue Magazine


COOL DISPOSITION is proud to claim a direct lineage to Muddy Waters. Our music expands upon the bedrock influence of 1950's era Chicago blues, while attempting to avoid pure imitation. We prefer to expose our own experiences, and do so with a wide variety of sounds within the framework of blues and R&B. One listen to our new CD, “Jumping In The Mudd” will confirm that. Sixteen original tracks with a consistent personality, a distinctive vibe, yet very little overlap.

Any band worth a second look has a name or two to drop. Here are a few of ours. Cool Disposition’s Dan Schwalbe and Marty Bryduck are former members of George "Mojo" Buford's recording / performing bands for the Minneapolis label Blue Loon Records. Mojo was, of course, one of Muddy's last great harmonica aces, and still tours Europe today. Schwalbe is among Minnesota's most recorded blues guitarists having cut sides for both Blue Loon and Cold Wind Records. His discography includes tracks with Lynwood Slim, RJ Mischo, W.C. Handy Winner Sonny "Cat Daddy" Rodgers, and of course Minnesota's godfather of blues, Mojo Buford.

The band is rounded out on harmonica by Boston transplant and KFAI Radio personality Harold Tremblay, New York native Greg Beach on bass, and founder/songwriter Mickey Bauer fronting the group. From Muddy to Mojo, to Dan and Marty, to Cool Disposition the electrified delta blues has been passed down, embraced, and hopefully, moved forward.

Cool Disposition is comparable to Minneapolis / St. Paul’s other top blues acts past and present such as Lamont Cranston, The Hoopsnakes, Black and Tan Records artist Big George Jackson, and The Butanes. Hoopsnakes leader (and former Jonny Lang sideman/ "Lie To Me" songwriter) Bruce McCabe appears on roughly half of our 2009 CD “Jumping In The Mudd”. His additional recording / touring credits include Luther Allison, Bernard Allison, Shannon Curfman, Big Head Todd & the Monsters among others. Bruce performs with us for select gigs, and occasionally is available to join us for festival dates depending on his tour schedule.

We present an artfully honest, entertaining blues performance. It is arranged enough to be professional, but leaves room for spontaneity, humor, soulfulness, and showmanship. The audience never witnesses the same show twice.


Received airplay on the internationally syndicated "Blues Deluxe" radio program promoting our 2003 Cold Wind Records release, “Romping At The Ribshack”

Cool Disposition has performed at notable clubs such as Blues On Grand, Des Moines IA; Famous Dave's, Mpls MN; The Cabooze, Mpls MN.


2009 / Hambone Blues Jam / Austin, MN

2009 / Blues On The Red / Grand Forks, ND

2008 / Twins Bar Blues Festival / Duluth, MN

2008 / Lowertown Blues Festival / St. Paul, MN

2008 / Blues On The Chippewa Fest / Durand, WI

2007 Central Iowa Blues Society / Winter Blues Fest / Des Moines, IA

2007 / Int'l Blues Challenge / Memphis, TN

2006 Porcupine Mountains Music Festival / Ontonogan, Michigan

2006 Boundary Waters Blues Festival, Ely, MN

2005 Bayfront Blues Fest / Duluth, MN

2005 Marquette Area Blues Society Festival / Marquette, MI

2005 St. Paul Blues Festival / St. Paul, MN