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PT Gazell & the side effects | Swingin' Easy...Hittin' Hard

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Jazz: Traditional Jazz Combo Blues: Jazzy Blues Moods: Instrumental
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Swingin' Easy...Hittin' Hard

by PT Gazell & the side effects

Hot, swingin', smooth, original, clean, lyrical, faster than a speeding bullet, diatonically chromatic, one of a kind, masterful, the swingingest, "Oh yeah, like what?," Nat King Cole, Ben Webster, Sweets Edison, Benny Goodman, Louie Jordan,.Dig that.
Genre: Jazz: Traditional Jazz Combo
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Just You, Just Me
3:03 $0.99
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2. The Thumb
5:24 $0.99
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3. Panhandle Rag
3:23 $0.99
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4. What Is There To Say
4:00 $0.99
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5. If I Were I Bell
4:16 $0.99
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6. How High The Moon
4:00 $0.99
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7. No, Not Much
4:50 $0.99
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8. Midnight In Amarillo
3:55 $0.99
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9. September Song
5:02 $0.99
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10. Robbin's Nest
4:14 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
This long awaited PT Gazell CD is an exciting collection of swing, ballads & standards.The side effects instrumentation of acoustic bass, drums, and hollow body electric guitar, create a tight, swinging groove. PT's distinctive sound and phrasing on the diatonic harmonica soar over these grooves with feel and verve. The collection is, in a word, stunning. Add vibes to four tracks, and PT has created a unique blend of instrumentation and inspired viruoso playing. PT calls it...

"Swingin' Easy...Hittin' Hard"

With this new CD, PT once again sets a standard for others to follow. Combining elements of Jazz, Swing, and Pop Standards PT Gazell has produced a classic American Recording that will keep your toes tappin', your head boppin' and your smile firmly in place.

PT Gazell's first release, "Pace Yourself", (featuring Jerry Douglas and Ricky Skaggs as sidemen) set the gold standard for diatonic harmonica playing. This blast of sonic bluegrass was and is, ahead of its time.His innovative work with the West Texas Music Company, (Johnny Paycheck's working band) from 1977 to 1980 opened up new musical possibilities for PT. His ability as a soloist and as an ensemble member of the band garnered him both critical and popular acclaim and made him one of the most sought after session players in the country.

From Jazz to Bluegrass, PT Gazell covers the musical waterfront as a bandleader, a recording artist and soloist. The one common denominator is the pure musical joy that emanates with each carefully considered note he plays.

"PT Gazell's new CD "Swingin' Easy...Hittin' Hard" is truly a breath of fresh air. I think it's really SENSATIONAL. Great stuff, and a great selection of songs. I've listened twice and I'm ready to listen again. Congrats!"

-Charlie McCoy


"PT Gazell's "Swingin' Easy...Hittin" Hard" CD not only establishes him as one of today's modern harmonica masters, but also his command of the instrument clearly puts him at the front of establishing the valved diatonic harp as a sweet, wonderful, swinging, and clear alternative to the chromatic harmonica, much the same way Howard Levy established the diatonic harmonica as a fully capable chromatic instrument with the over blow technique. So in short, PT is here to stay and so are his valved harps!"

- Jason Ricci

"PT has utterly mastered the technique of playing chromatically on a valved diatonic, and his playing on the new CD is clean, accurate, and sweet throughout. I've watched PT play a number of times, and I have always been struck by the reaction he gets. There's a lightness, an ease, and a beauty to his playing that simply makes his listeners happy; I can't think of a better way to put it. This is music that will make you smile."

-George Brooks

I bought this disk at the Bean Blossom Blues Fest and since PT was there, I got him to sign it..It is everything that I have read about it and more..The precision with which PT plays is amazing. And on a diatonic harp to boot..September Song is by far my favorite but, it has been high on my list of fav tunes for a long time. I don't want to detract from the rest of the disk either. It is all good ne great.
This disk just shows how versatile the harmonica is and how it can sound in other genres not just blues.. I pretend to play the harp and PT is definitley one of my heros who I try hard to emulate..
If I was going to buy just one harp disk this year, this would be it...Thanks PT...

-Blind Bob

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Reviews


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Monkeytown Music


“Swingin’ Easy … Hittin’ Hard” – sure does. Throughout the ten songs on this album, PT Gazell & the side effects take us on a diverse and thoroughly enjoyable musical journey. But, aside from the adept musicianship, what strikes you are the song choices and the unique arrangements they’re given. Gazell and the group of musicians assembled to record this disc take on western swing tunes like the Leon McAuliffe penned “Panhandle Rag,” as well as jazz standards “How High the Moon” and “If I Were A Bell,” with a fresh tack. The opening track (“Just You, Just Me”) pretty much serves notice that what you’re about to listen to is different - harmonica, guitar and … vibes (?). You bet. But the real standout in this collection is “September Song.” Everyone from Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald to Chet Baker and Django Reinhardt has covered this Kurt Weill standard. PT Gazell’s interpretation will have you adding him to this list as well. And, as an aside, you may want to note that Gazell performs all of these tunes on a diatonic … not a chromatic harp. Don’t ask me, I don’t know how he does it either. It’s been 27 years since PT Gazell’s last album (“Pace Yourself”). Let’s hope we don’t have to wait around that long for the next one. But if we do, he’s given us a collection of tunes that ought to tide us over ‘til then.
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Leonid Auskern

Another name to remember
PT Gazell & the side effects: Swingin 'Easy... Hittin ' Hard

(p) & © 2005 Miss Max Records
10 tks/42 mins
(PT Gazell - harmonica; Roger Spencer - bass; Chris Brown - drums; Andy Reiss - guitar; Kirby Shelstad - vibes;)




Musicians who live in Tennessee are usually obligated to play Country music. Specializing on the diatonic harmonica, PT Gazell paid tribute to this American Style of Music, by dedicating his debut album to Bluegrass. But who’s to say that a musician from Tennessee cannot also love jazz—which, by the way, is also American Music. On his new album Gazell convincingly demonstrates his version of jazz on the diatonic harmonica.
The amount of time between his two works is considerable. Gazell’s visits to the studio are not what you would call frequent. But, in this case the saying better seldom, than never is justified. Swingin ' Easy...Hittin’ Hard, sounds as if it were specially made to illustrate the possibilities that are hidden in swing jazz. From the first track to the last, the album is very warm, very optimistic, and has a genuine jazz atmosphere. Playing on an instrument not widespread in jazz, and using other not so standard instruments to round out the quartet, (along with harmonica, the soloists are guitar and vibes,) PT Gazell has refused the safe route on all known and popular standards. For the most part, this project covers a wide range of material and songwriters, such as Wes Montgomery’s’ The Thumb, to Kurt Weils September Song but doesn’t leave the listener worn out.
The performance level of PT and his colleagues is rather high, and for the most part extremely interesting. In particular, the combination of harmonica and vibes is unusual and fresh. Until now, the idea of harmonica in jazz brings to mind only one name—that of the brilliant Belgian, Toots Thielemans. Now, one more name should be remembered: PT Gazell.

Leonid AUSKERN

© 2005 Jazz-Square
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Don Thomason: The Amplifier Online

Fluid & Articulate
Swingin’ Easy ... Hittin’ Hard - PT Gazell and the Side Effects (Miss Max)
Gazell is laying claim to being a modern day Charlie McCoy, following up the bluegrass release Pace Yourself (with Jerry Douglas and Ricky Skaggs) with an album of harmonica-fronted jazz and standards (for local readers, think Tony Martin Trio with mouth harp). Gazell is fluid, articulate (particularly so on “Midnight in Amarillo”), and shows flash when the song calls for it. From the jumpin’ opener “Just You, Just Me” to the breezy closer “Robbin’s Nest,” Gazell and his band paint a beautiful jazzy landscape. This would make a nice gift for the instrumental or standards lover on your list.
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Dorothy Hill

Matchless Jazz Sensibility
PT Gazell is a harmonica player from Tennessee who specializes in playing the diatonic harmonica rather than the full-scale chromatic harmonica. His previous CD focused on bluegrass, and on this new one he weighs in with matchless Jazz sensibility.
The opening cut, "Just You, Just Me," introduces Gazell's richness of tone on harmonica with light-hearted blowing accompanied superbly by the band. The Wes Montgomery tune "The Thumb" is delightfully explored with rhythmic complexity.
"Panhandle Rag" is a witty swinging session, and the guitar solo adds a nice relief. "If I Were a Bell" exquisitely displays Gazell's bending the notes to achieve an improvised bell-like quality.
"How High the Moon" has an emotional immediacy with Gazell shaping the phrasing, and the band kicks in just at the right moment on this enchanting offering. "September Song" is a masterpiece that is achingly beautiful with a steady stream of shapes that puts Gazell's command of control on harmonica at the top of any list.
This CD consisting of ten cuts is an innovative feat, and those who may not be fans of the harmonica, should give it a try. Gazell and his ensemble will surprise and delight Jazz aficionados on this refreshingly creative effort.
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Rob Paparozzi

He's done it again!!
There is always much controversy over what IS considered real Jazz and what is not. PT Gazell is not really a JAZZ player but he is playing standards on this record within a Jazz context. I know PT and he'd be the first one to tell you he ISN'T a 'Jazzer' but LOVES good simple "Swing". So what does all this mean from a listeners point of view, it means we have a record that PT has appropriately titled.....no genres attached, just plain "to the point" Diatonic Harmonica interpreting some great standards within a small band jazz combo setting, Guitar, Vibes, Drums and Bass. PT is a superb player and brilliantly incorporates his years of playing with his love for 'Swing' music.
I should preface all this with saying that I was first introduced to PT Gazell's music a few decades ago on a debut album called "Pace Yourself", a Harmonica instrumental album of classic Bluegrass songs played by some of Nashville’s finest players. At the time is was virtually unheard of to use a Harmonica as a lead on this style of music, but PT had bigger ears and shocked a whole lot of people by his approach on that record. For anyone interested, that album WAS transferred to CD and is available with this NEW CD at the links I've listed below.
From a Harmonica Player's standpoint this new album covers some uncharted territory, PT is not using the Howard Levy style of 'Overblow' technique, but rather a regular diatonic harmonica that is 'half valved'. The valved technique allows him to execute the songs without switching harps. (Certain reeds are fitted with a plastic wind valve similar to the valves on a chromatic harmonica.)
What I dig most about PT is that he approaches his instrument as a MUSICIAN first and secondly as a harmonica player. In doing so he completely frees himself from all the "predictable harmonica" clichés that we've all come to know too well. Most impressive for me is PT's tasty "Phrasing" that really assists in the swinging...but even cooler is the diverse and unique repertoire he has chosen for the CD. His Musicianship as well as his song choices are impeccable.
It's refreshing to hear great innovators on our instrument and PT always delivers, hopefully this will inspire other harp players to take chances and seek out material that works well on Diatonic. A must have for all serious players!
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Wayne Campbell

Many of them are songs you’ve known forever—the rest, you’ll be humming soon eno
So I’m talking to a friend on the phone yesterday and I casually mention that PT Gazell has a new CD out. “Really?” he asks, “What’s it like.” I tell him it’s jazzy…and it’s great…and, again, I get the “Really?” treatment…followed by “On the harmonica?” For a brief moment, I contemplate explaining the not-so-revolutionary nature of such a proposition. Instead, I just assure my friend that he needs to buy the disc and then we’ll talk.

Actually, there are two compelling reasons to buy a copy of “Swingin’ Easy…Hittin’ Hard.” The first is pretty obvious: The ten tracks on this CD are an unconstrained joy to the ear. Many of them are songs you’ve known forever—the rest, you’ll be humming soon enough after hearing PT’s fresh takes on standards like “How High The Moon” and “September Song.” Younger readers won’t appreciate this comment, but this is truly a compilation that makes you grateful for the CD format, lest you worry about playing a disc so much you wear down the grooves. The performances are flawless in that casual way that makes you tend to under appreciate the shear musicality of the performers.

If you’re still looking for another reason to buy this disc, here it is: Opening the jewel case and removing the disc (a pre-requisite for maximum enjoyment) reveals a seldom seen sight—the inside of a harmonica. Much like my friend’s reaction to the idea of harmonica jazz, the inner workings—such as they are—are deceptively simple, but in the case of PT Gazell’s new CD, they yield a pleasing outcome.
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Vangelis Aragiannis "Apopsy"

A New Direction & A New Modern Master
"Swingin' Easy…Hittin' Hard"

PT Gazell & the side effects

Miss Max Records



Regardless of musical style, the harmonica is seldom the featured instrument. Even less frequently is when it's in the jazz idiom. Toots Thielemans, Hendrik Meurkens and Howard Levy are exceptions to the rule. Now with a completely different approach, PT Gazell also shines the spotlight on this instrument.

It's quite natural for a musician living in Tennessee to play country and bluegrass. That's what harmonica player PT Gazell did on his debut recording "Pace Yourself" some years ago. His new album though is dedicated to swing, and includes a collection of well-known and not so well known standard covers. The "side effects" is a group with the usual backing for harmonica: guitar, bass and drums. On four tracks vibes enhances this quartet. This addition creates a different tone with the unusual but successful pairing of vibes and the tiny wind instrument. Gazell's sweet, optimistic and warm sound, and the straight ahead jazz direction of the album, guides the whole sound to - whom else - Toots Thielemans. Unlike the Belgian virtuoso however, Gazell plays diatonic instead of chromatic harmonica, something rather unusual for the demands of compositions with the complex harmonic structure that are found here, and without fail, reveal his performing virtuosity.

This talent marks him as a modern master of harmonica, gives new interest to worn out songs ("Just You, Just Me", "What Is There to Say", "September Song") and urges us to acquaint ourselves with songs we seldom hear in the classic jazz repertory ("The Thumb", "Panhandle Rag", No, Not Much").
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Gerry Webb

Once every decade or so PT delivers a Masterpiece.
Prolific is not a word used in association with PT Gazell. He picks his spots. His last effort, "PACE YOURSELF", was mystifying in its brilliance. It was and is a Bluegrass tour de force. Then, he disappeared for a decade or two. Luckily for us he's crawled out of his hiding place long enough to record a brilliant Jazz Swing masterpiece. His playing is impeccable. I've never heard or heard of a diatonic harmonica player who could even attempt to play this stuff. Toots Theilemans comes closest, but he's playing a chromatic harmonica. Comparing them is to compare apples and tubas. PT's band, “the side effects”, is a tight jazz ensemble. PT's playing is clean and crisp. He doesn't indulge in the pyrotechnics of his youth like he did from time to time on his previous effort. It is our collective misfortune that he does not tour and that he does not record more often. His first recording made his legend in the Bluegrass and harmonica communities. This record should introduce him to a much wider audience. It swings its fun... It's musical. PT's playing is flawless. His band is rock solid. Jazz Guitar player Andy Reiss offers some tasty licks of his own and PT gives him plenty of room to shine. The combination of Roger Spencer on Acoustic Bass and Chris Brown on Drums is right on time. The occasional addition of Vibes adds just the right tone to this tasteful project. "Swinging Easy, Hittin’ Hard" is an example of a man at the top of his game. I cannot recommend anything more highly.
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