What’s the first thing you think of when you hear “the 1920s?” Many think of the great excess of the prohibition era, of the parties, of the wealth, of basically everything contained in The Great Gatsby.
But what you might have forgotten was the soundtrack to this baccanale, the music that managed to wrangle even the modest out of their chairs and into step. You might have forgotten about Jazz.
Although that Jazz Age is long gone, its music still lives on through Georgetown’s own Bulldog Alley Alley Cats, a group that’s added their own flair to almost century old jazz traditions in their new EP, Blind Phyllis. The songs are well-organized, with all three tracks clocking in at about nine minutes long.
The best piece on the EP is the title-track, “Blind Phyllis.” An original composition by the group, the song immediately grabs the listener’s attention with powerful, energetic saxophones that create and sustain an enjoyable phrase throughout.
About halfway through the song, this catchy lick dies down, opening the doors for other instruments, particularly Dan Sheehan (COL ‘17) on the drums and Joe Epstein (MSFS ‘17) on the trumpet, to demonstrate their solo skills before the group loops back into its saxophonic groove.
The album comes out uneven, however, with the track “So What” leaving listeners wondering the same thing. Unlike “Blind Phyllis,” there is no build-up; instead, there is a slowed section in an already soft jazz piece. That being said, the Alley Cats’ interpretation of this standard is not bad—it simply pales in comparison to both “Blind Phyllis” and “Khao Sok,” the remaining track on the EP.
In Blind Phyllis, the Bulldog Alley Alley Cats display their talent for producing elegant and engaging compositions. From the upbeat and energetic title track to the triumphant, encore sound of “Khao Sok,” this EP is a great listen both for the token jazz enthusiasts and anyone interested in great instrumentals.
Needless to say, these cats have a lot to offer.
Voice’s Choices: “Blind Phyllis” “Khao Sok”