JETTIN’ JAMES – Perseverance

CD Reviews 04 Nov 2010

JETTIN’ JAMES – Perseverance

(2009 Self-Release)


Madison guitarist extraordinaire James Eisele let thirty-five years go by before he decided to reconvene his seventies band Jettin’ James and the band sounds like nary a day has gone by. Steeped in hard rock and the blues, the band covered material by the Allman Brothers, Hendrix and Cream amongst others. They also played original material, not exactly common for a local group in the early seventies.

Eisele has played in assortment of other bands over the years including James Eisele Jazz Trio, Midnight Flight (blues/rock), Orange Colored Sky (jazz) and Tate and the 008 Band (blues). Also does solo work, fill-in gigs with Electric Road Kings and studio recording.

Perseverance is his third CD of all-original material in the last two years following 3rd Degree Blues and Coming Into a New Age. Currently Eisele is finishing up a collaboration with singer Karri Daley on her forthcoming CD entitled Smooth Sailing (also featuring saxophonist Rob Corbit and bassist Tom McCarty) and is playing in a new band called Vintage Red.

Jettin’ James is a power trio that includes bassist Douglas Tracy (read more about Doug here) and drummer Jeff Waech. The three gel together well and stick to blues/rock for the most part, occasionally tossing in some jazz and more classic rock elements. The ryhthm section is stellar but the album is primarilly a guitar record. Eisele is an excellent soloist, fluid and expressive and although he employs slide and acoustic guitar, the emphasis is on the good ol’ six-string electric.

While Eisele capably handles the vocal chores, the highlight track on the album is an instrumental, “Strut,” which is embellished with marimba played by Todd Waech, who also contributes other percussion tracks to the album. This tune is great and, aside from the jazzy vibe the marimba brings, is a dead-ringer for Wishbone Ash, one of the all-time great guitar bands. Eisele doubles his guitar parts giving the song the harmonized dual-guitar melodicism that Wishbone Ash excelled at.

Also on the jazzy side is the mid-tempo ballad “Castles,” which also sounds a lot like Wishbone Ash, down to the English inflections on the vocals. At over six minutes it stretches on a bit too long, however.

The title track is a deep nod to Hendrix with some excellent, feedback-laden guitar. The best blues tracks are “All of These Woes,” which sounds like a george Thorogood tune with Eisele playing some hot slide guitar, and “Don’t Try,” which goes for a ZZ Top kind of groove. Eisele’s style seems to flow best on these tracks, both stylistically and vocally.

The album closes with “I Got to Boogie,” strongly reminiscent of Taylor-era Rolling Stones, especially their track “I Got to Move,” which then morphs in a kick-ass blues boogie with scorching leads.

Eisele and band aren’t breaking new ground here; that’s not what they do. If you can’t get enough of solid blues/rock tunes and sizzling guitar work, however, you’ll dig Perseverance.

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About the author

Rick Tvedt

Rick is publisher of Local Sounds Magazine, formerly Rick's Cafe, Wisconsin's Regional Music Newspaper. He is also the Executive Director for MAMA, Inc., a non-profit organization that produces the Madison Area Music Awards and raises funds to promote youth music programs.

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One Comment

  1. James Eisele
    November 9, 2010 at 1:10 am

    Thanks Rick for such an excellent review. I’m really grateful because it’s seems so hard to get any recognition these days. We released this cd over a year ago and couldn’t get anyone to listen to it let alone get any votes for the MAMAs. This caused a slight problem and we found ourselves disagreeing about the future of the band and eventually went our separate ways. Not unlike what happened 35 years ago when we broke up. Which is unfortunate because we had more than half of another cd of music ready to go – music I thought was better than what we had. We are talking now about finishing the second one and I’m hopeful.

    There are a couple of slight corrections to the review I would like to make. First, the cd I’m doing with Karri is my cd and not hers. Although she does sing on many of the tunes, I paid for the entire thing and continue to do so. Don’t get me wrong, she does an incredible job on it and she contributed to many of the creative arrangements for which I am forever in her debt. She’s a great talent and I’m very fortunate to have her with me. Second, Rob Corbit is a drummer (Electric Road Kings) and son to the saxophonist Bob Corbit who plays on the new unreleased cd as well as “New Age” and 3rd Degree” discs. Bob is not on “Perseverance” simply because we wanted that to be a strictly rock release.

    Just a side note: “Perseverance” was intended to be a tribute to Jimi Hendrix and was somewhat fashioned after Jimi’s second album “Axis: Bold as Love”. Unfortunately we had to abandon that and drop two of the best songs because of copyright problems. That totally bummed me out because those two tunes had some of my best playing on them. We are reworking them with no Hendrix connection and they will be included with the second cd, “Crash Landing,” if we can ever get it out.

    That’s it, thanks for your time. If you would like to pick up “Perseverance” or my other two cds (for which I would be forever grateful), you can pick them up at Sugar Shack Records on Atwood Ave, B-Side Records on State, and MadCity Music on Williamson. Thanks to those fine stores for offering local artists and thanks once again Rick and Local Sounds Magazine for their support.

    Peace. James Eisele 11/9/10

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