The jazz is smooth and vibrantly flamenco flourished – and the club is chill tonight. Listening to The Ethan Sultry Band at the Blue Whale in DTLA is a sensory jolt. Deliciously fluid vocals joined to a hybrid jazz sound five-person band feature:
guitarist/composer/vocalist Ethan Sultry (Margolis. Fresh from Spain performing his iTunes featured album, Sonikete Blues, the blend of Adalucian rhythms with blues and jazz creates a stirring fusion that’s as graceful as it is assertive.
Born in Santa Cruz, Sultry lived in Spain for more than a decade before moving to Los Angeles, bringing his exciting fusion sound like the best kind of baggage.
Opening with the song “Butterflies and the Moon,” from his new album Sultry moved into playing a compulsively cool Robert Johnson tune “Malted Milk” played in “E flat” as Sultry noted. The music flowed like a rhythmic waterfall, with Suitry pausing only to justifiably praise the ambiance and acoustics of the club – who could help but love a space with a Rumi quote on the ceiling and a stellar cheese plate available at the bar.
This is a rare and delightful mix of Gypsy roots, Delta Blues, and sleek jazz. Vocals are compelling and the percussion wills you to move along with the music. Buckingham even added a side of hip hop lyricism to a music mix that was seamlessly blended.
Sultry offers an intriguing take on a jazz path that evokes Miles Davis and a bit of Les McCann. His take on the traditional spiritual “Go Down Moses” defies comparison – and indeed most all of the ensemble’s pulsing and yet delicate musicianship is entirely unique.
I’m sure I wasn’t the only audience member involved enough to want to dance – and at the same time listen and contemplate.
However the music makes you feel,the important thing is that it truly makes you FEEL.
Missed them live? Then check out Sonikete Blues on iTunes now and get ready to move and feel and find yourself in some alternative and wonderfully eclectic place between Spain and Mississippi and jazz Heaven.
- Genie Davis; photos by Jack Burke