Album Review of

Written by Robert Silverstein
December 13, 2021 - 6:38pm EST
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The spirit of the mid-1970s is alive and well on Red, the debut album by the distinctively named music ensemble called Vinyl Hampdin. The creation of composer, producer, arranger and trombonist Steve Wiest, the 11-track, 52-minute Red album features a number of musicians and vocalists, including electrifying lead vocalist Lisa Dodd Watts. The original tracks composed by producer Steve Wiest are memorable as are the group's choice of covers made famous during the mid 1970’s, including choice covers of Stevie Wonder (“Superstitious”), Bill Withers (“Use Me”), Paul McCartney (“My Love”).

Grammy-nominated Steve Wiest is renowned among jazz music enthusiasts as his horn work was featured in bands led by the famous Tonight Show band-leader Doc Severinsen and his big band as well in trumpet legend Maynard Ferguson’s band. Also established in the field of jazz education, Steve Wiest currently teaches arranging, composition, jazz trombone as well as being the director of the acclaimed Denver-based Lamont Jazz Orchestra.

With so many talented musicians taking part on the Red album, the music is action-packed and the songs and arrangements are first rate. Steve Wiest has a number of albums out under his own name and to add to his legacy, he’s also established himself as a writer, having written his first novel in 2014.

With this first Vinyl Hampdin album, comparisons are already being made to horn-based superstar bands such as Chicago, Blood Sweat & Tears, Tower of Power and more. Vinyl Hampdin’s lead vocalist, Lisa Dodd Watts is also being compared to greats like Aretha Franklin and the soulful rock vocals of Robert Plant. Highlights of Red include a cover of Bill Withers' “Use Me” and a brilliant, though curious noir-funk-jazz cover of the 1965 country & western classic “Flowers On The Wall” (note the killer guitar solo!). An original track “Billions” is outstanding and totally rocks. Fans of Vinyl Hampdin keep your eyes peeled for their imminent second album entitled Blue coming in early 2022.