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Minnesota guitarist T.C. Ortberg releases scorching fusion of jazz, funk, and classic rock
(Published: July 03, 2011)

July 3, 2011 (Minneapolis, MN) Written by Robert Sutton. In Minnesota, even the jazz scene isn't beyond the clutches of Prince's purple reign.

On local artist T.C. Ortberg's latest album Hot Jupiters, he is accompanied by saxophonist Kenni Holmen of the Hornheads, a group that has backed Prince on several tours as well as appeared on a number of his studio recordings. However, Holmen's presence wasn't requested for glamorous name-calling; rather, his fiery sax performances deepen the soulfulness of Ortberg's fusion of jazz, funk, and classic rock.

The title of the record may have some - especially those raised on early ‘70s album radio - assuming that this is a spacey prog record. But that's not the case. What Ortberg seems to be referring to is the scorching playing on the album, including that of his 19-year-old son Alex Ortberg, whose pummeling drums on the opening track, "DNF," can knock any planet out of orbit. "DNF" was chosen well to start off the album as it is such a potent introduction to Ortberg and his crew. The snappy riffs of daddy Ortberg lock in with Holmen's buoyant sax and liftoff is achieved; the two of them certainly generate enough energy to rocket to Jupiter.

With its bluesy atmospherics, "Europa" finds Ortberg steering into a different direction, which isn't an anomaly on this record; rather, it's just one example of Ortberg's genre-hopping. "Celtic Bias" is exactly what it hints at: a jubilant homage to Irish folk music. Vocalist Zsame Morgan adds a sweetly melodic female touch on a cover of Chicago's 1972 epic "Saturday in the Park," which finds Ortberg singing - quite nicely, too - as well. Deep Purple's 1971 heavy-metal staple "Lazy" is given a jazz makeover featuring swirling saxophone from Holmen.

There are no Prince covers on Hot Jupiters, but that would've been too predictable. There's more musical talent in Minnesota beyond The Kid, even though his shadow is only a degree or two away.

More Information: http://www.tcortberg.com

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