Dave Sasscer and the Mojo Conga Jam
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Dave Sasscer and the Mojo Conga Jam

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Singer/Songwriter

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Here's another artist who does a good job with a variety of styles.

First off: making relaxing soft rock that doesn't get smarmy or sentimental is a neat trick, and David Sasscer pulls it off nicely here on several songs.

But as the set progresses one hears nods towards Santana, reggae, soul, funk, country, Eastern mysticism, and groovy, late 60s-style pop. Each song, though, has a simple, sweeping flow, even when rocking, which some of them do. The lyrics flow too, soulful and compact.

The only weakness, and it's pretty minor, is that Sasscer's singing, while sensitive, doesn't have much power. Still it works all right in this easygoing, modest music. In fact just about everything about this CD is "all right," in the best possible sense of the phrase. And playfulness does break up the meditative proceedings. The fun rocker "Dynamite" sounds a little like Jefferson Airplane, while "Jon Stewart is God" takes a good-natured poke at celebrity worship: "Jon Stewart is God / He made the earth and sky... from Genesis through Psalms / If you read between the lines / It's Jon you'll find."

A lot of talented new indie artists mix and match from an assortment of musical styles. Not too many do it as smoothly and assuredly as Sasscer. Highly recommended. Hear and buy at CD Baby.
- Critic Blog - Jon Sobel


Dave Sasscer is the lynchpin of the eponymous project that released “Quiet Mind” this year. Joining Sasscer are the Mojo Conga Jam, a group of talented musicians that have spent time in the supporting acts of the Indigo Girls, Shaun Mullins, Omar Hakim, and Hiram Bullock.

The first track on “Quiet Mind” is “(When) She’s in Love With Me”, and shows Sasscer et al as individuals that appreciate nineties rock. Of course, the style of music that is present during “Love With Me” is something fresh and current, but one cannot deny the nineties influences – bands such as the Counting Crows and Chris Isaak – that give the overall sound further coloration.

The production of “Quiet Mind” is strong, strong enough that one could compare it to a major label singer or act and be unsure of who is still not signed. During the title track, a Warren Zevon-like set of vocals lay themselves over an emotionally intense and instrumentally functionalist framework, to create something compelling and musically impressive. The second set of vocals adds a fullness to this title track that was missing during “Love With Me”. This evolution of Sasscer et al’s output during “Quiet Mind” shows that the band has a hell of a future ahead of them. One need only listen to a track like “Almost Perfect Weekend” to understand this. This reggae/Island-sounding track simultaneously shows influences as diverse as Desmond Dekker, Jimmy Buffet, Tom Petty, and the Beach Boys as well as creating a unique sound for Sasscer and the rest of his band. “Dynamite” is a track that continues the same type of hopeful rock, with the emotive vocals of Sasscer providing the distinguishing features of the track.

The ten cuts on “Quiet Mind” are enough to keep individuals interested without stretching the album out too long. Sasscer et al play a feel-good brand of rock music that makes individuals wonder where they are going to go for the next track. One song may have a straight-forward rock sound, while another may go to the islands for its’ influence. As more individuals pick up on the allure that is Sasscer’s “Quiet Mind”, I have little doubt in my mind that the act will gain in popularity until that time when they make it onto rotation or some other modicum of success. Check this album out, and make sure to purchase the prior album of Sasscer’s for comparison.

- Neufutur Magazine


The good people at the ludicrously genius Web site http://www.johnstewartisgod.com/ have written a comically church-y pop-hymn to honor their maker. Followers of Jon call themselves ‘Jonsons’ “because He is the Creator and the Chief Architect of the world, the Originator of life and the Provider of all things in existence. He is not a man because no man can be consistently that funny.” And as the song’s lyrics claim, “When the Pope behind closed doors/ Needs to know whats going on/ He turns on Jon”. Amen.

- Rolling Stone Magazine


Rating: 4.5 out of 5 geetars

What a great way to start a CD! David Sasscer and the Mojo Conga Jam jump right into the depths of romance with “(When) She’s In Love With Me.” Sasscer’s voice burns with a gentle fervor and melts with desire. And if that wasn’t enough to get you feeling dreamy and maybe even a little weepy, it’s followed up with the title track, an even more touching and ethereal piece with gleaming chimes and philosophical and religious rhetoric.

Sasscer’s music showcases different sides of his personality. “Almost Perfect Weekend” has a Caribbean groove (his hometown is Aguadilla, Puerto Rico); “Jon Stewart Is God” is an absolutely hilarious gospel piece (one wonders WWJS [What Would Jon Say] about it?); even though Sasscer has written and produced children’s music in the past, he’s no prude: “Dynamite” and “I do, too” get a little saucy; and the live “Why I Love You” is an easy-rolling country love song that would make most women swoon.

David Sasscer is a good guy and Quiet Mind is one of the better releases that not enough people have heard. It’s time to change that. He deserves to be listened to, and you deserve to hear him.

- Pitchperfectreviews.com


Quiet Mind seems to be a bit of a confusing offering, but you can tell that Dave Sasscer just likes making music. He doesn't give a fuck that his album makes no sense; it goes from an African-inspired Lion King type track in "Quiet Mind" to an ode to the greatness of Jon Stewart in "Jon Stewart Is God" without skipping a beat. "I Do, Too" is a funk and jazz hybrid, while "Comfort Zone" is a groovy, Santana-esque offering. This is just the tip of the iceburg, folks. The songs do get even more random and confused. I don't even know if Jon Stewart is God. I think this guy is. He is all places at all times.

I should also mention that his label is Roomful of Sky Records, and their inner lining notes state that, "Roomful of Sky Records strives to achieve its goals in a karmically-sound way. All releases use environmentally-friendly packaging rather than the traditional jewel case. 10% of proceeds from all sales are donated to charities chosen by the artists themselves." I'd except such behavior from God.

Still don't believe me? Check out his album artwork. He's humbly barefoot and wearing a white smock. On the inside, hands gesture with mysterious symbols. On the back, guitars he bent with the sheer power of his mind! And although you can't see it here, on the inside, he has his hands outstretched, similar to the image of Christ on the cross. I've pretty much cracked the mystery. Dave Sasscer is God.*

* Not a serious assertion, although all signs point to it as being the truth.

Photos & Art Direction: Jeremy Wolff at very.com
Design: Elaine Tian at ct2designs.com
- Redefine Magazine


Discography

Quiet Mind - www.cdbaby.com/cd/davesasscer2
Teaser - www.cdbaby.com/cd/davesasscer

Photos

Bio

Dave is a New York City based singer/songwriter.

His work is characterized by island-tinged rock rhythms underpinning consistently mesmerizing pop/rock songs. Although he plays many of the instruments himself in the studio, he is joined onstage by a roving group of musicians that go by the name the “Mojo Conga Jam”. Regular members of the “MCJ” include David Patterson on guitar (alumnus of Atlanta Singer/songwriter Shaun Mullins and the Indigo Girls), David Gomez on percussion (internationally acclaimed Latin Jazz percussionist and Hiram Bullock/Omar Hakim collaborator), and various other luminaries of the NYC music scene.

Although Dave incorporates numerous rhythms into his writing, including reggae, rock and salsa, to name a few, the end results are sometimes playful, sometimes soulful, sometimes down-right rockin’, but always evocative tunes that the NYC crowd has begun to call “rhythmic rock”.

Dave's recently completed second CD is being distributed by the indie NYC based label
"Roomful of Sky" and is available on iTunes, Rhapsody, and all other major online venues. The album has so far generated two online hits, the songs "Quiet Mind" and "(When) She's in Love With Me" and has been played on Vince Scelsa's "Idiot's Delight" among other earth-bound radio stations.