Tomás Doncker Band - Big Apple Blues

(To Be) Released October 21, 2014

By Morgan Berna

Big Apple Blues is the collaborative work of legendary poet Yusek Komunyakaa and musician Tomás Doncker. The album is being released October 21, and the pair will officially be introducing Big Apple Blues during the Dodge Poetry Festival, in Newark, October 23 to 26 (sponsored by The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation). With vocals, drums, horns, and strings, Big Apple Blues brings listeners that classic blues sound in such a good way.

Opening track, Big Apple Blues, starts not with a bang, but a wail. An animalistic cry, met quickly with a decrescendo and complete silence. As the sound fades back in you’re met with smokey vocals, provocative lyrics, and soothing instrumentals. As more and more instruments join in, the vocals grow in intensity, showcasing Doncker’s incredible control. Big Apple Blues instantly transports your mind to a dusty jazz club, full of people ready to sway the night away. Can’t Say No comes next, with flourishing tambourine, marching paced drums, soothing saxophone, and groovy guitar. The beat makes you want to do some serious swaying. The New Day is a relatable piece, with lyrics giving a nod to the plight of the working man, (“Scrubbing the floors from daybreak to sunset.”). Anyone who has ever worked a service job will instantly empathize with The New Day. The slow, jazzy vocals make this an emotional piece, and one to sit back and enjoy. Fans of great musicianship will love Hellfights of Harlem for it's awesome instrumental introduction; with punchy drums, and wailing guitar that says it all.

From the growly vocals of Can’t Say No and Ground Zero, to the soft, plushy vocals of Coney Island, Tomás Doncker proves he’s got some serious chops. That being said, Doncker's talent doesn't overshadow the backup vocals and band, with each getting their moment to shine on the album. Grab a partner, turn on Big Apple Blues, and get swaying.