Artist: Jeff Cascaro
Album: The Other Man
Genre: Soul, Vocal Jazz
Label: Herzog Records
Quality: FLAC (tracks)
The Other Man
The Girl Who Got Away (Back In The Days)
Give It To Me
Let’s Stay Together
Outro (Ear Wiper)
Before Heatwave hit it big in the United States with their debut album Too Hot to Handle, they had a large following in Europe. The band was especially popular in Germany. By the mid 1970s, Heatwave was following a well-worn path to Germany that had been blazed by acts such as The Beatles. So it’s clear that German music lovers have an ear and affinity for soul, rock and other musical styles made in America. German artists have also spent considerable amount of time listening, watching and woodshedding, as is evidenced by the latest release by Jeff Cascaro, who has just released his third soul album, The Other Man.
Cascaro’s musical history should not be too surprising considering the absolute love that many Europeans have for soul, blues and jazz music. Cascaro is a trumpeter who has played with the top German bands and with American legends such as Joe Sample. He developed a love for the blues when he was 14-years old. That Cascaro is currently 43 underscores the fact that he was digging the blues at a time when his American counterparts were actively rejecting the music. From the blues and jazz Cascaro made the transition to soul and R&B music.
Vocally, Cascaro is especially suited to sing soul music. He sports a smooth but muscular tenor that effortlessly soars into falsetto range, as displayed on the ballad “You.” That tune is reminiscent of the work that Leon Ware did on his 2008 release Moon Ride. Tracks such as “Swing Thing” and “Beale Street” honor the important role that blues and jazz take in Cascaro’s life. Cascaro displays a musicologist’s command of jazz history, as he calls out some of the greats in jazz history on “Swing Thing.” The number also reveals that while Cascaro does a lot of singing, he retains his instrumentalist sensibilities. “Swing Thing” showcases Cascaro’s horn playing, and also provides ample room for his sidemen to improvise.
It’s clear that Cascaro finds being so far removed from soul music’s epicenter somewhat liberating. He neither faces the prospect of being forced to update his sound in order to be heard among the din of singers screeching to gain the attention of the youth orientated artists, Nor does he have to wander through the wilderness – a musical prophet without honor – because he adheres to the ideal of pure soul music. That’s often the fate of American soul singers, which is why so many of them seek and find critical and commercial success in Europe. Nope, Cascaro has the freedom to put his entire heart and soul into singing southern soul numbers such as the title track and “Going Home,” or he can drop a hot buttered soul track such as the flute infused “Give it To Me,” or even include jazzy numbers such as the pensive “The Girl Who Got Away.” These diverse cuts all add up to a cohesive whole on The Other Man, and Cascaro’s American listeners will not have to be worry about anything being lost in translation. Highly Recommended
By Howard Dukes