Theo Czuk: The Black Bottom

Is he a jazzer? A crooner? A singer/songwriter? Theo Czuk covers the waterfront on this album where he delivers a kaleidoscope of hip moods ranging from West Coast cool to hipster Beat, showing off some impressive composing skills in the process.

The overall mood and milieu of his writing skills leans toward a Randy Newman cleverness, like the quirky swamp blues of “Wooden Nickels” with Czuk singing with the tone of a Times Square watch salesman. A Nashville Skyline is visible on “Cold Corridor” with Czuk’s voice with grit in a harrowing mood teamed with Sidran Olson’s violin. He knows how to tell a story with Janie Smith-Struif’s  bohemian flute and a Kerouac mood on “Lunch Wagon on Highway 57” while delivering a noir mood suited for Gloria Graham with David Heyer’s muted horn on “ Let It Swing” and wearing a shark skin suit for the fusion “Good Night’s Sleep.” Musically, Czuk plays guitar, organ and piano, forming a hip combo with Beethoven J ones/b and Maynard Hull/dr as he hits the indigo pedals on the title track and goes into a soul session on “Midnight Round” with a horn section of Sarah Viens/tp, Mike McCarthy/sax and Ryan Cheney/tband going with a Latin lilt with strings on the richly textured “Pi To The ‘nth Degree.”

The twelve tunes are like a Baker’s Dozen selection at the local bakery, a wide variety that has something delicious for every taste. Which one dominates at a gig? I gotta go and find out!



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