Tomás Doncker’s seventh album “Big Apple Blues” was released in October of 2014 on True Groove records. Doncker’s resume includes a who’s who of the New York music scene and it is time for Doncker to step from the shadows and take his rightful place at the forefront of the blues scene on the world stage. Doncker has reunited with Pulitzer Prize winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa for this album and the results are a treat for any blues fan. Doncker is a pioneer of what he terms Global Soul which is a euphemism for a blues based riff combined with world beats and a nod to East and West African and Caribbean culture and rhythms.
“Big Apple Blues” leads off with the title track and begins with a crescendo worthy of Louis Armstrong and then is supplanted with a mellow blues riff that carries you along on the journey. The second track on the album, ‘Can’t Say No’ lays down a blues groove worthy of the masters of the genre. Doncker’s last project “Moanin' At Midnight: The Howlin' Wolf Project” put him in touch with one of the true genius’ of the blues idiom and set him firmly back on the course of not just playing the music but feeling it deep in one’s soul.
The album has a definite Big Apple slant with song titles invoking Harlem, Coney Island and Ground Zero and almost every song is a pedantic lesson in blues styles from the slow grinding blues of ‘At This Midnight Hour’ to the up tempo stomper ‘That Horse’. The album closes with the easy party blues groove of ‘Fun City’. Fans of the blues will not be disappointed by this effort from one of the great modern practitioners of the genre. The band, consisting of David Barnes, Nick Rolfe, Josh David, James Dellatacoma, and Mike Faulkner is tight and compliments Doncker’s vocal style perfectly and the production is first rate as the guitar sounds are clean and vibrant and the vocals have a presence and don’t get lost in the mix. All in all, “Big Apple Blues” is a must for anyone who considers themselves a blues enthusiast.
Uncle Duke; a.k.a. Rob Penland is the producer and host of "The Mad Music Asylum" a 4 hour weekly syndicated radio show and now a 24 hour streaming internet station.