Singing with a hound-dog salaciousness, and playing sax with a squalling soulfulness, Advice from a Father to a Son has a funky-cool Carnival-time vibe anyway. Then Scott Ramminger goes and adds some of New Orleans’ best sidemen — guys who’ve been a part of the Meters, the Neville Brothers Band, Professor Longhair and Astral Project, no less.
From pianist David Torkanowsky’s rollicking Fess-inspired asides on the opening “I Really Love Your Smile” and the album’s title track to bassist George Porter Jr.’s great, greasy bass addendum on “Funkier Than Him,” from guitarist Shane Theroit’s scalding asides on “The Other Man’s Shoes” to drummer Johnny Vidacovich’s stamping cadence on “The Town’s Seen the Last of Me” and “Magic in the Music,” this album bubbles with all of the tangy spices long associated with the Crescent City’s unique gumbo of musical influences.
Still, Ramminger never loses his firm grasp of the spotlight on Advice from a Father to a Son — due via Arbor Lane Music on February 26, 2013 — thanks to his fun way with a lyric, loose Frankie Ford-esque attitude at the mic, and muscular, approachable presence on sax.
Ramminger continues adding collaborators, too, by the way: Regina McCrary, the Nashville gospel singing legend, growls with stirring power on “The Other Man’s Shoes,” and a smart group of local Washington D.C., collaborators (including Danny Gatton alum Barry Harton on drums) join in for a trio of closing tracks — including the reggae-blues “Sometimes You Race the Devil,” which recently took top prize for vocal blues/jazz at the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Songwriting Contest.
Still, the set’s initial seven cuts, recorded at Fudge Studios in New Orleans, remain the heart and soul of this funky good time of an album — and that’s thanks not just to Ramminger’s storied group of collaborators, but also to his very real passion for this music. The saxophonist may live in D.C., but he’d fit right in marching with a street band on Dumaine.