Jeff Chaz
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Jeff Chaz

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"Cd Reviews of `cookin`in old grease`"



Jeff Chaz - "Cookin' In Old Grease"
by Peter Lauro (The Blewzzman) - April 2004

I have to admit that doing a review on the new JEFF CHAZ CD, "COOKIN' IN OLD GREASE", was nearly impossible for me. I mean how can I sit here and review a CD that I can't get past the second track of? Every time song two, "INSTRUMENT OF PLEASURE", ended I kept reaching for the remote and hitting replay. This is one hell of a blues song. I think topping the phenomenal, fiery guitar work and the feelings filled vocals on this cut will not be an easy task. This not being on the W. C. Handy Award Nominations list as "BEST BLUES SONG OF THE YEAR" was a big oversight by the nominators. This song indeed was an "INSTRUMENT OF PLEASURE" for this listener......and once I finally did stop hitting replay, the rest of "COOKIN' IN OLD GREASE" was as well.

By JEFF'S own admission, he claims to have been influenced by the late great ALBERT KING. Gee, for the life of me I never remember Albert, my idol, ever playing this hard. Although I'm not saying this as a disappointment, I'm hearing a lot of ROY BUCHANNAN and RORY GALLAGHER. There even seemed to be a bit of JAMES BROWN on "I COULD'VE BEEN A DOCTOR".

With all fourteen tracks on "COOKIN' IN OLD GREASE" being originals, JEFF CHAZ shows his song writing ability is equal to that of his consistently strong guitar work and very good vocal talents. Confessing that he could have been a lawyer or a doctor or a policeman had he not played the blues on "I COULD'VE BEEN A DOCTOR", proclaiming that the scent of a woman is the non sense of a man on "THE SCENT OF A WOMAN" and referring that taking back his ex girlfriend would be like cookin' in old grease on the title track of that same name, are just a few samples of JEFF'S writing wit.

Having been born and raised along with living and working in the New Orleans area for just about all of his life, you might comfortably feel that JEFF CHAZ would know more than a few good local musicians. The cast he assembled for "COOKIN' IN OLD GREASE" give credence to that. Along with JEFF on guitar and vocal are: DOUGLAS THERRIEN and DOUGLAS PORTER on bass; ALLYN ROBINSON, BARRY FLIPPEN and MIKE SOLLARS on drums; GREGG "LARRY LEE" VILLAFRANCO on organ; JOHN AUTIN on organ and piano; A J PITTMAN on trumpets; KEN "SNAKEBITE" JACOBS on saxes.

It surprises me that as many times as I have visited New Orleans that I do not recall seeing the JEFF CHAZ BLUES BAND appearing anywhere in town. Well, maybe it shouldn't. New Orleans is one of those place where you party so damn hard recalling anything you did while there is a task

Peter Lauro (The Blewzzman) - April 2004
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Cookin' In Old Grease
Independent (JCP)

Singer/guitarist Jeff Chaz left his native Louisiana for a spell in Memphis. Now back home, Chaz lays down powerful blues on Cookin¹ in Old Grease (JCP 0002). A wonderful, Albert King-influenced guitarist and great vocalist, Chaz is the whole package. He infuses the heartbreaking ballad ³Instruments of Pleasure² with drama and pathos, and brings the funk on the cooking instrumental ³Humidity.² Two thumbs up.

Jeff Calvin, Blues Revue-Feb/Mar 2004


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Cookin' In Old Grease
Independent (JCP)

JEFF CHAZ
Planning an Australian tour next year is high profile New Orleans contemporary bluesman Jeff Chaz. A fixture on the local scene with a residency at Bourbon Street's The Famous Door since 1996, Chaz was born in Lake Charles LA, later moving with his family to California. He toured nationwide playing trombone with a Boston soul band after finishing high school and eventually fronted the band as lead vocalist. Taking up the guitar and finding a niche for himself in the blues eventually brought Chaz to Memphis where he paid his dues playing in various blues clubs before relocating back to his home state. Cookin' In Old Grease contains fourteen Chaz originals that display his prolific songwriting skills through a 66-minute set of sweaty electric blues backed by a sizzling lineup playing organ, piano, bass and drums, capped off with a scorching horn section.

Chaz's lyrics are catchy and clever with hooks like "The scent of a woman is the nonsense of a man" and "Every time I come home my baby's there / In my favourite negligee in my favourite easy chair". He lays the songs in foundations of uptempo shuffles, riff-laden stompers, high energy rockers, Memphis-tinged R&B grooves, steamy slow-burners, and of course, down-home New Orleans funk. Vocally, Chaz at times echoes Johnny Winter filtered through Bryan Lee, another Bourbon Street mainstay. In an extension of his vocal dexterity however, Chaz peels off some spine-tingling falsetto notes that no doubt reflect his formative musical era singing soul and gospel.

Chaz employs a harsh metallic guitar playing technique in the style of Roy Buchanan and Albert Collins, tearing some fiery solos off the fretboard with abrasive lead and slide work. To hold court on the Crescent City's renowned tourist strip for such a lengthy tenure you have to be able to play it loud and soulful. Very few people visit the Big Easy without checking out its bawdy thoroughfare and patrons from all over the globe converge on venues expecting to sample music that made the city famous. With such high competition for the traveller's dollar, musicians need to have special crowd-pleasing qualities to cut it on Rue Bourbon. While locals always recommend you visit venues outside the French Quarter for the best all-round entertainment value, many of the city's finest musicians began their careers there. Jeff Chaz is another performer destined to rank among the higher echelons of New Orleans bluesmen.

Rhythms Magazine(the`roots`music bible of Australia)-`03
Al Hensley
Blue Monday - Noosa Community Radio



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Jeff Chaz
Cookin' In Old Grease
(JCP)

Warning! This CD may cause your stereo to burst into flames! Jeff Chaz, the Bourbon Street Blues Man, is back with a scorcher of a disc. Cookin' In Old Grease (JCP Records) is a high energy set from the get-go, with plenty of intense guitar, sweaty funk, and some of the most impassioned vocals heard in a long time. In addition, he is also a great songwriter, as displayed on the opener, "I Can't Get Lucky With You", "I've Got To Be Clean", "I Could've Been A Doctor". The slower track, "Instrument of Pleasure", builds in intensity so slowly and deliberately that you're nearly exhausted upon its completion. However, the guitar is at center stage on the steamy instrumental "Humidity", the funky "Morning Coffee", and on the nine-minute title track which closes the album. Though he lists his influences as Albert King, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Adams, among others, he reminds me a lot of D.C. bluesman Bobby Parker (of "Watch Your Step" fame) with his singing and fretwork. The band, some of New Orleans' finest, is excellent, and so is the production by Chaz.

Graham Clarke - BluesBytes Magazine


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Jeff Chaz
Cookin' In Old Grease
(JCP)

The Bourbon Street Blues Man serves up another strong offering of self-penned, funk driven blues on Cookin' In Old Grease. He sticks with what's been working for him: hot slide work, passionate vocals, and entertaining lyrics. He lays his stuff down on a solid foundation provided by contributing musicians Douglas Therrien, bass, Douglas Potter, bass, Allyn Robinson, drums, Barry Flippen, drums, Mike Sollars, drums, Greg "Larry Lee" Villafranco, organ, John Autin, piano, A.J. Pittman, trumpet, and Ken "Snakebite" Jacobs, saxes.

Chaz takes his blues to all the familiar places with self-deprecating humor and high drama. In the catchy opening tune, "I Can't Get Lucky With You," he's a man on a roll except he can't win his girl: "A man dropped dead, I gave him CPR and now he's doing fine. His chauffeur came by with a million in cash, he says thanks for saving my life....but I can't get lucky with you."

As anyone who plays music live for a living in a tourist town knows, it is the job of the musicians to get the folks in the door and then hold their interest long enough to sell them several over-priced drinks. If you can't do that, you're most likely history pretty quick. Chaz's idiosyncratic slide playing is ear-catching, and he's made it a recognizable hook. He knows how to keep everything lively switching up between jump blues, slow blues, rockin' blues (Jerry Lee Lewis-style), and instrumentals. On the CD, his versatility shows as he easily moves from the funk-driven "I Smell Somethin' Funky" to a fiery duet with Tomato on "Don't Go Monkeyin' Around," to a driving instrumental called "Morning Coffee" featuring John Autin on organ and Chaz's guitar viruosity at its best.

-Kathleen A. Rippey
offBEAT Magazine August,`03 Issue


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Jeff Chaz
Cookin' In Old Grease
(JCP)

I honestly must say that I recently haven't enjoyed a CD in the loud & electric-Blues-genre as much as I did "Cooking in old Grease": Great straight ahead Blues-rockers (Can't get lucky with you, Got to be clean, Monkeyin' around etc.), screaming slow burners (Instrument of Pleasure, Sweet Sweet Love, the tilte track etc.), funky grooves of the real sweaty kind (I smell something funky, Humidity, Morning Coffee etc.)...not only do you know when to hit a spine-chilling high note on the strings but also with your "goosebumps" vocal chords...simply fantastic with great musicians behind you, all killers, no fillers...herewith I nominate you for the W.C.Handy awards...no kiddin', no flattery...will write a thank you note to Erhard Albrecht as well, thanking him for establishing the contact to you.

Kai "Mad Dr.K." Becker www.bluesradiogermany.de


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Jeff Chaz
Cookin' In Old Grease
(JCP)

Of course, in New Orleans they also play some hard Bluesrock, at least this white brilliant Guitarslinger does so, with angry and "actively involved" vocals up into the highest falsetto plus band, sometimes supported by horns and on one tune by strings, otherwise with Bass, Drums, Keyboard or Piano. Is that already Soul? At least in any case this is Blues, Shuffle, Funk, Rock&Roll. The Guitar moans, weeps, yells, sings and speaks and the band jams with ultra-tight precision, also on the few slow numbers and always straight ahead. Unadulterated joy of playing is being celebrated here.

We're not informed futher about this man but it is highly recommened to remember this fastfinger Jeff Chaz - he is a major big Bluesman, unfortunately nobody knows yet.
On one tune there's a female singer called "Tomato" (no further info). The 14 self-penned tracks are not all 12-bar traditional style but sure are Blues and solid craftsmanship.

" I could have been a doctor" he sings in the so-called tune. But he didn't become a doctor, lawyer or policeman, he wanted to sing the Blues and that turned out very good. He also reveals a fine sense of humour. In the titletrack the sings. "You broke my heart, you broke my bank-account, too". She wants to come back now, but he's not hot for the old grease anymore.
This self-produced CD is available in regular retail-stores by special order,and autographed copies are available from Jeff Chaz himself by emailing him at his website, www.jeffchaz.com .

Review by Bluesnews Magazine-Germany/English Translation by`the Mad Dr.Kai`of Blues Radio Germany


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- Jeff Chaz


Discography

`Give Me My Guitar`,the Door Productions(out of print)
`Tired of Being Lonely`,Jeff Chaz Productions
`Cookin`in Old Grease`,JCP Records
Many tracks are receiving streaming play on several internet and cable blues stations in the US and overseas.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Jeff Chaz has played and toured with such blues and roots music greats as the late Albert King and Jerry Lee Lewis,to name a few.Jeff`s influences are B.B.King,Albert King,Freddy King,Little Milton,and Eric Clapton.
Jeff is a much heralded blues song writer and producer.Read his `Reviews`page at www.jeffchaz.com
Jeff`s original brand of blues incorporates urban Memphis blues with New Orleans rhythms.
Like Jeff says,it`s like `New Orleans gumbo meeting up with Memphis barbeque`.