Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group - Oh Brother Where Art Thou? - 1995


The lounge/indie pop band known as the Legendary Jim Ruiz Group made waves with this 1995 disc on Chicago's Minty Fresh Records. Led by Jim Ruiz, the six-piece band storms through a dozen blissful songs fueled by lounge, jazz, and pop. Despite the band bearing Ruiz's namesake, the music is a team effort, with Stephanie Winter-Ruiz adding a lush backing vocal on the opener, "Mij Amsterdam," and Chris Ruiz adding a jazzy alto sax to the second track, "My Bloody Yugo." Winter-Ruiz takes the lead vocal duties on the bossa nova-inspired "Spain." The clean instrumentation and vocals on songs like "Be My Valentine" and "She's Gone Away" are slightly reminiscent of Combustible Edison and fellow Chicago band the Coctails. The jazzy organ on "Lucht" is followed by a haunting alto sax line by Brian Tighe on the disc's final track, "Oh Porridge." The disc features a wealth of guest musicians, including guest appearances on drums, bass, saxophone, and guitar. Drummer Bryan Hanna, bassist Charlotte La Bonne, and guitarist Matt Gerzema round out the group. The sublime and carefree tones on Oh Brother Where Art Thou? solidified the band as leaders of the lounge pop scene. -AMG




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