Album Review: The Andy Rothstein Band
Artist: The Andy Rothstein Band Album: Truth Against The World Release: 2022 The latest release from The Andy Rothstein Band is an eleven song powerhouse of a record. It straddles so many styles that it is difficult to classify it as anything other than fusion. But it’s much more groove oriented than most fusion. So it’s even difficult to call it fusion, which I suppose is the very definition of fusion. Andy’s exceptional guitar playing is obviously the ground floor of this album, but make no mistake his supporting cast is world class.
Andy’s playing reminds me a bit of Greg Koch or Jimmy Herring in the sense that it’s difficult to put a label on it. The playing is so diverse and far reaching that it is challenging to narrow down who influenced it. It’s like nobody and everybody influenced him simultaneously. I hear more blues than jazz in his playing than is typically heard in music like this, which makes for an appealing dynamic.
It is clear from the head of track one, Perfect Storm, that the level of musicianship is through the roof. This song is a great example of Andy’s ability to pull from everyone and create something that sounds like nobody but is somehow still familiar. The head reminded me a bit of the Lynyrd Skynyrd classic I Know A Little, and by the guitar solo it feels like a classic Larry Carlton take with killer tone, chops and tremendous phrasing. By the end of the track the band is firing on all cylinders and taking no prisoners.
One of the tracks that I really enjoyed is simply titled Blues. The band stretches on this one without ever overstepping and pulling it too far from the blues, while simultaneously pushing it forward. It’s the push and pull of it that makes it a compelling listen. The band walks a very thin tightrope with just enough tension, but not so much stretching that it’s no longer blues.
If there is one song that captures the essence of this album it is the title track Truth Against The World. It perfectly frames this eleven song set of music. I could write a 500 words about this one track, but all that matters is you hear it for yourself. It’s one of those songs that the whole thing came together, creating a sum greater than it’s parts. Composition, tone, performance, chops and vibe!
The twists and turns on this record are never too sharp and they are navigated with precision. The band plays dynamically through their clever arrangements. The virtuosity is obvious but not overbearing. The music seems to have equal parts of rock, jazz, blues, funk and everything else that is cool from western music from the last 50 years, making for an interesting and inspiring listen.