By DONNA BALANCIA
The Gerry Paul Nestler record release party for his new album Mama’s Child brought fans of divergent music genres together, all casting aside their differences for one night.
That’s because the new music from Nestler and company incorporates rare elements of jazz, blues, punk and funk for an innovative crossover sound that moves forward. If only we could get people to appreciate each other for their differences the way the diverse fans of this new record do with one another.
Nestler dropped the record “Mama’s Child,” the 10-song collection, last week. The members of Nestler’s group are respected musicians representing the bands Philm and War but taking the funky jazz and avant-garde sound to the next level.
Nestler and bassist Pancho Tomaselli were in Philm together. They pulled in Max MacVeety on drums and saxophonist David Urquidi (War) and the four musicians threw down some sophisticated work that had the Redwood audience spellbound.
Mama’s Child is an intricate and fascinating collection of compositions that range from eccentric love songs to tunes that are downright honky tonk bawdy. It’s comprised of music that can be played at Coachella or a jazz festival.
The album opens with the Samba-esque “Koko My Love,” reminiscent of Brazil 66, and Traffic’s classic Low Spark of High Heel Boys. The song sounds like a groovy 1970s summer afternoon.
“Rain On The Window” is one of the saddest and most somber but beautiful songs on the record. It starts off sounding like Bob Dylan playing an Elton John piano work, and then transitions into a glam-era David Bowie-inspired journey. Perhaps it’s the reflection of what is happening in the song. Being left alone when a relationship ends is one of the most staggering and stressful realizations in life. The piano work on this by Nestler is masterful and bonds for a New York sound with the classic Evan Francis saxophone.
“Genevieve” takes elements of musical theatre and sets them against the backdrop of a slow motion carnival ride. It’s a love song that takes a roundabout way to get through the story. It’s a tip of the hat to the great Fred Neil’s haunting song “Dolphins,” perhaps best known from “The Ride” episode of The Sopranos.
“Melinda Darling,” is what a snake would sound like if he could sing. The lyrics are straightforward, “I want to stay with you, I want to pray with you I want to dance with you, Melinda darling.” But as they say, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it, and in this case there is an evil-sounding overtone, likely used to lure the unsuspecting Melinda Darling. The composition is reminiscent of the award-winning work of renowned South African film composer Trevor Jones, who scored, among other films, “Bad Influence.”
“Glass Bottom Boat” is a song you could imagine being played by a big jazz band or by a colorful character on Sesame Street. It’s got an enthusiastic upbeat funk style that could get just about anyone up to dance. The song encourages people to kick of their shoes off and have a great time, no matter who’s watching.
The title cut “Mama’s Child” brings to mind a tough neighborhood in New York City on a slick, rainy night. It’s an ode to the hope that no matter how loud the cacophony of life can be, relief is on the way … one day. It’s the same kind of hope that music fans have that they’ll stumble upon something really great and at the very least, interesting and fun.
01. Koko My Love
02. Rain On The Window
03. Soul True
06. Little Marie
08. Glass Bottom Boat
09. Mama’s Child
Gerry Paul Nestler – Vocals, Pianos & Guitars
Pancho Tomaselli – Bass
Max MacVeety – Drums
Evan Francis – Saxophone, Clarinet and Flute
Recorded and mixed by Chris Sorem at Nest Recorders, Los Angeles. Additional Recording by Michael Coleman at Figure 8 Studios, Brooklyn, N.Y. Trombones on “Little Marie” and “Glass Bottom Boat” played by Jim Messbauer and recorded by Jake Rusconi at Robyn Newhouse Hall, Springfield, Mass.
Watch Gerry Paul Nestler’s video for “Koko My Love” here: