Born and raised in Louisiana, Jeff Chaz had a rather eclectic musical upbringing, listening to his Dad's Jack Teagarden and Louis Armstrong records while the others around him were listening to Elvis & Ray Charles. It would serve him well. He would ultimately find himself playing with Albert King, Jerry Lee Lewis, Cab Calloway and more. He continued to play and to grow musically. Sounds Like Blues To Me is like having a party in your pocket. Chaz comes out hot and gets hotter with each number as the night progresses. An exceptional guitarist, great vocalist and phenomenal storyteller, Jeff pulls it from the depths of his heart and from wells of personal experience. The result is a sound that is powerful, cutting straight through to the heart and taking his audience along with him on a ride through good times and bad. Even those individuals who knew nothing of Jeff or his many accomplishments found themselves diehard fans by the time his show, or album, was finished. He is accompanied by a band that consists of Doug Therrien on bass, drums by Doug Belote, Allyn Robinson & Willie Parker, John Autin on assorted keyboards, A.J. Pittman on trumpet, Ward Smith on Saxes and David Hyde on bass on cut 5. Well seasoned and playing as a single unit, this band tears it up, carrying their audience with them through thick and thin. This is blues with that distinctive New Orleans sound throughout. All tunes were written by Jeff Chaz, each one a gem and a delight on the ear of the listeners. From hard-driving numbers to soulful ballads, Jeff and the band nail each with a passion that comes from years of listening to the music and working through each number until each reaches what it is that the bans is looking for. This is music played from the heart, complete with those little moments that hold the audience spellbound and on the dance floor. This is the real deal from the opening notes to the close. You won't want to let this one slip through your fingers. This is a band that puts heart and soul into everything they play, delivering 100% every step of the way. This is a keeper to be sure. - Bill Wilson
In recent years, Jeff Chaz served as one of a trio of blues performers who’d stuck it out on Bourbon Street, playing for locals who somehow got the impression New Orleans was a major player in the genre — playing Johnnie Taylor to Big Al Carson’s Bobby Rush and Bryan Lee’s Albert King. Relatively speaking, of course — Bourbon has nothing on Beale and Maxwell when it comes to blues history. But Chaz’ latest, In Exile, may give doubters some pause.
That has more to do with his leads than his vocals — as a singer, he’s got a lot of balls, but he frequently overreaches — but those are some great leads. Chaz started in jazz and moved over to country before he’d ever made it to the Quarter, and all those influences battle for supremacy when he takes his space on “You Don’t Know What Love Is.” Despite lyrics that rarely stretch beyond their titles, such as that track and “You Don’t Know the One Who Loves You,” Chaz’s dozen originals do more than just provide excuses to go up the neck. Even instrumentals like “Brownin’ The Flour” and the self-explanatory “The Shuffle In C” are tightly constructed and built around solid riffs, so when he goes off, you’re already hooked.
In the end, the best thing about a CD like In Exile is that you can exile yourself to your living room and still enjoy crowd pleasers like the jump-blues/funk hybrid “Drunk and Stoned” without dealing with tourists who went too far in either direction. And who feels like doing more traveling these days, anyway?
JEFF CHAZ IN EXILE`
To say the year 2005 was a rough one for Jeff Chaz would be an understatement. The New Orleans guitarist evacuated the Crescent City for Florida prior to Hurricane Katrina's arrival, but like most residents there, was unable to return home for months.
Chaz spent several months after the hurricane battling depression and wondering what he was going to do next and whether he was even going to return to New Orleans or just start from scratch somewhere else. After months of soul-searching, Chaz returned to New Orleans (after all, he is known as "The Bourbon Street Bluesman") and has released his newest CD, In Exile, on his own JCP label. This CD was in the can, so to speak, prior to the hurricane, and it features more of Chaz's tough high-energy blues. The production has more of a "live in the studio" feel to it than his previous releases, but it works just fine. It's hard to say what Chaz's strong suit is, musically speaking, because he's strong in several different areas. On guitar, he's first-rate, and his diverse skills are on display on several instrumentals, including "Brownin' The Flour," "Gumbo Roux," and "The Shuffle in 'C'." Chaz is also an excellent singer, with plenty of emotion and grit to his voice, and he is hitting his stride as a composer as well, with some of the most imaginative themes and lyrics you've heard in a while. He can tackle familiar blues themes, like "Hello Blues," "You Don't Know What Love Is," and "I'm Sick & Tired (Of Being Broke All The Time)," and give them a fresh face. "Dreams Don't Lie" is a deep soul number, with one of Chaz's best vocal efforts. He also displays a playful nature in his songs, with tracks like "New Car Smell," "Drunk & Stoned," "You're Wearing Out Your Welcome," and "I Smell Something Funky."
Hopefully, In Exile will enable Jeff Chaz to regain some momentum and get back on his feet. Like most musicians in New Orleans, he's slowly beginning to get some work as tourists begin trickling back to the Crescent City, but right now there are a lot of musicians out there competing for a limited number of gigs. Blues fans of all kinds, especially those who love blues guitar, will find a lot to enjoy about this disc. While you're surfing around, visit Chaz's website (www.jeffchaz.com) for biographical and booking information.
Jeff Chaz - "Cookin' In Old Grease"
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 taskPeter Lauro (The Blewzzman) - April 2004
Cookin' In Old Grease
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
Cookin' In Old Grease
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
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
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
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
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.
" 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.
Review by Bluesnews Magazine-Germany/English Translation by`the Mad Dr.Kai`of Blues Radio Germany
Jeff Chaz describes his music as Memphis barbecue meeting up with New Orleans gumbo and he hits the nail on the head pretty good. His original blues songs clearlyreflect his major influences: Albert King (with whom he gigged briefly as a trombonist), a little Jerry Lee Lewis (spent a tour with him), and a pinch of Johnny Adams in the vocals. Chazs offerings are down home autobiographicaljust working mans blues, thank ya very much.
A veteran of the Bourbon Street skirmishes, Bourbon Street Blues Man tells it like it is: Where the food is hot, and the musics loud, I never have no problem drawing a crowd.
Im a Bourbon Street blues man, and I know just what to do.
Then he steps back and proves it with some well-executed, fiery guitar
runs. His songs cover all obligatory blues territory. Love wonDont
Shave Your Legs Tonight, love lostA Chill In The Air
and Breaktime, laughterSeafood Dept. Blues
and Aint Smellin Too Good, and tearsTired
of Being Lonely. Chazs talent on the fret board really explodes
when he steps back and rips off his guitar solos. He plays with fluid
dexterity and inspired passion. He burns on the Albert King-ish Everybody
Knows and admits, Working with Albert greatly influenced
by style, especially my string bending. He was the wildest at that Ive
seen and terrific vocalist. About Jerry Lee Lewis, he says, Jerry
Lee taught me not to be afraid to do anything! That attitude shines
throughout on this CD. Chazs ability to find the humor and pathos
in his day to day dealings and build his experience into sturdy works
of blues through strong storytelling and playing takes this CD several
notches above the norm.
Operating from the New Orleans's French Quarter, "Bourbon St. Bluesman" Jeff Chaz creates some truly nice guitar playing and vocalizing on his CD Tired of Being Lonely. Right out of the gate, Chaz sizzles with "I Can't Wait No More," laying down the spirit of what's to follow. Highlights include "Bourbon St. Bluesman," where we get a hefty helping of horns coupled with Chaz's pile-driving guitar play, the slow blues of "Child Support," and the grungy gutbucket blues of "Everybody Knows." Nicely rendered soul is the feature of "A Chill in the Air." Chaz's creative outlet as a songwriter (all songs are written by him) is his strong suit. The only fault with this recording are the New Orleans references in songs like "Seafood Dept. Blues" that will probably not appeal to anyone outside the "Crescent City."
--- Bruce Coen - BluesBytes Magazine
Jeff Chaz could well be the missing link between BB King, Roy Buchanan, Albert King and Frank Zappa. On one-hand you have tongue-in-cheek flippancy and frivolousness on the other a well produced and crafted album with some great vocals and guitar with some very slick backing. Now if that sounds peculiar you're right. Tracks such as "I Can't Wait No More", "Don't Shave Your Legs Tonight", "Ain't Smellin' Too Good" and "Seafood Dept Blues" are not carnal enough to hit the Tim Buckley scale of rawness but neither wild-eyed or humorous enough to score in the Billy Jenkins stakes. Many of the tracks have masses of tricks and innovations such as the off-the-wall runs in the funky number "Breaktime" or the spot-on soul falsetto on "Tired Of Being Lonely" and all are interspersed with a nice thick guitar tone which has the sonic breadth of a mild Roy Buchanan and the metallic cutting edge of Albert Collins. All of the influences are seamlessly melded together such as "Child Support" which sees Jeff vocalising in BB King mode with a six-string nod towards Albert Collins' "Ice Pickin'" period. Unusually for a blues-guitarist, Jeff Chaz has a great voice and some searing solos tucked away but is doing himself a dis-service through the flippancy of some of his material. Given some of the stratospheric egos inhabiting the music world it's not often that you would encourage someone to be more serious, but it's probably the case with Jeff Chaz.
Paul Bradbeer/English Journalist-Music Critic
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