Frank Catalano ‘God’s Gonna Cut You Down’ (Ropeadope) 4/5

frank-catalanoFollowing their collaboration last year with their four track E.P release ‘A Love Supreme Collective’, Chicago Born Saxophonist and Joliet, Illinois born (and former Smashing Pumpkins’ drummer) Jimmy Chamberlin, are back with a new six track LP “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” on Ropeadope Records. Joined on this release by Demos Petropoulas on Hammond B3 Organ, Scott Hesse on Guitar, Mike Dillon on Vibraphone, and The New Mastersounds’ guitarist Eddie Roberts guesting on tracks 1 & 5.
The album kicks off with “Big Al’s Theme and Soul Dream”, which starts with a nice sax intro, before Jimmy lays down a heavy funky beat which will please the jazz dancers, featuring plenty of Jimmy Smith style Hammond Organ and a good minutes drum solo towards the end of the track following on from the frantic pace of the first track “Impressions” starts as though it is going to be a nice laid back piece of straight Jazz before picking up the pace for what turns out to be a standard Sax and Organ led Jazz instrumental with a rather disjointed rhythm.
Next comes the title track “Gods Gonna Cut You Down”, which has a real gospel edge to it with a mid tempo pace, allowing the saxophone, organ and guitar solos plenty of room to shine through – this track has indeed been recorded several times before, notably by Johnny Cash and Odetta, but it’s a sure bet their versions don’t sound anything like this.
“Karma” is a sound straight from the 1960’s Blue Note collection with its mid tempo pace, ideal for just sitting back with a nice glass of something and digging the three main players’ more than competent solos.
Next up is “Shakin” which, after a slow moody start, finds its groove with Frank’s saxophone setting the tone for a real fine dancer – guaranteed to get those funky sneakers hitting the floor – though slightly disappointed by the drum break, which is just a little too long, breaking up a fine groove. But fear not, Mr Catalano comes back in to save the groove…
Final track on the LP is “Tuna Town”, which is a nice little swinger, with a fine mid-tempo funky groove following the pattern of the other tracks by leading with the sax solo, then the organ solo, followed by the guitar and finally into the sax to finish – but as stated, a nice tune (or is that Tuna?) nonetheless to take the LP out on a high.
All in all a more than competent album, that would embellish anybody’s collection. So if you like your jazz with that real Blue Note feel, then you won’t be disappointed with a purchase of this collection of tunes.

Stephen Ward