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Texas Holdem by Joe McBride

This is the kind of music designed to make you tap your feet and features some hot playing by McBride and his ace band, the Texas Rhythm Kings.

McBride clearly is having a lot of fun here and the proof is the somewhat odd inclusion of the classic FM radio stoner hit, "In A Garden of Eden," by Iron Butterfly. Of course the song is also known for its notorious 17-minute length (here mercifully rendered in a economic 3:42), droning organ solo and the mangled pronouncement of the song's title into "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida." At first the organ and keyboards by McBride make you say, "That sounds just like..." but the electric bass riffs by Martin Waters make the song instantly recognizeable.

"Double Down" features some really sweet guitar by Todd Parsnow as McBride tickles the 88's as his hands nimbly dance across the keyboard. He had me bobbing my head as I sit here writing this review and hitting the "repeat" button. The horn section of Wayne De Laro (saxophones), Dave Von Blohn (flugelhorn and trumpet) and Larry Spencer on "One Eyed Jack" is smooth, restrained and never overwhelming. Meanwhile the rhythm is locked down by John Adams on bass and Dennis Durick on drums. It's one tight band.

McBride sings pretty well too. He steps out on two tracks, the poppish, bouncing, "Giving It All To You" and "I'm Here For You" which is tailor-made to be played in a jazz club when you want to change up the groove and look across the table deeply into the eyes of someone special.

But that doesn't mean that McBride can't get down as he gets funky with "All In," a slow bumping grind of a tune that's as smoky and greasy as good Texas barbecue. "The River" smooths things out with nice work on flugelhorn by Von Blohn and McBride's piano solos.

This is top-down, cruising music that deserves heavy rotation on the hipper smooth jazz stations. Joe McBride is holding a winning hand with Texas Hold'em.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Joe McBride
  • CD Title: Texas Holdem
  • Genre: Smooth Jazz
  • Year Released: 2005
  • Record Label: Heads Up
  • Musicians: Joe McBride (piano, keyboards, vocals, and beat box), Wayne DeLano (saxophones), Dave Von Blohn (flugelhorn and trumpet), Larry Spencer (muted trumpet), Todd Parsnow (guitar), Martin Waters (electric bass, guitar), John Adams (upright bass), Dennis Durick (drums)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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