Gideon King & City Blog 'Upscale Madhouse' review

Gideon King, Upscale Madhouse

This new release is an enthralling blend of jazz, fusion, rock and funk

New York jazz fusion band Gideon King & City Blog are back with a brand-new album, entitled, Upscale Madhouse.  In 2015, GKCB released a full-length album, City Blog, that was met with worldwide critical acclaim with the Huffington Post hailing King as a “musical genius.”

Known as the jugular to the New York jazz scene, GKCB makes the movement exciting again with their expansive and rich music.

With their latest release, GKCB covers new ground with the jazz genre, promising to release work that is more innovative and compelling than their prior releases.

Always evolving and incorporating new aspects into their project, GKCB will be at long last delivering live performances, an enthralling blend of rock, jazz, fusion, and funk.  The first few shows have proved to be a success, with packed shows that have been very well-received.

Upscale Madhouse opens up with “Straight To Hell” that features the vocals of Sonny Step.  There is a controlled calm to the track towards the beginning as the jazz-fusion evolves with electronic embellishments.  The guitars and drums give off a cool vibe.  This placating rock song is a smooth blend of jazz and rock fusion with a great Contemporary Radio feel.  With a really nice vibe with cool jazzy grooves, this great suave and charming sound is about a protagonist whose life is on the rocks.

“Upscale Madhouse (ft. Brandon Fletcher)” is the title track that has a nice, warm acoustic sound.  The cadence pervades with a quiet sound to this nice soft ballad.  This is a more slower-striding song where the vocals are warm and filled with emotion.  A powerful track, this is a soulful soft rock song imbued with a simmering bluesy vibe.  This is a comforting rock ballad that eases into an electric guitar solo mid-way into the track.  A melodious piano tune also sidles into the song mid-way.

“Broken And Beautiful (ft. Elliot Skinner, Grace Weber, and James Genus)” has some cool tones of jazz music breaking out in the few intro notes of the song that immediately segues into the suave, harmonious vocals.  The pretty melody has a nice flow to the track with traces of a beatific melody that paves this song.  This is a moving and emotional track that has a hauntingly beautiful melody.  The chilling sound is moving.  A piano solo leads in a haunting foray that segues into an electric guitar stand-off, and then the cadences of the sax tunes in.  These are nice musical accompaniments where each instrument has a voice of their own.  A nice interplay of energized percussions sound off towards the end.

“Fake It On Facebook (ft. Kate Kay Es, Sonny Step)” is a tongue-in-cheek song title.  The electronic beats accompany acoustic instrumentals, giving off a funky groove to the track.  The song has a quirky sound to it with a playful and inviting catchy vibe to the real cool jazzy flavor.   Rocking synths give off a wonky and funky vibe to this contagious concoction.

“Loveyouloveyouloveyou (ft. Kate Kay Es)” is a slow sauntering jazz ballad with a pronounced Contemporary Radio sound to this sweet and romantic love song.

“Gun To My Head (ft. Marc Broussard, John Scofield, Donny McCaslin)” has cadences of the Spanish guitar that jumpstarts this song that has a slightly Mariachi feel with touches of a Western vibe.  The great acoustic sound towards the start continues with an energized and charged feel to the vocals.  The track has a great jazz cadence mixed in with a bit of funk and soul.  A radioactive electric guitar solo is executed half-way into the song.  The up-keyed rhythms and sound will have audiences bobbing their heads and tapping their feet to the upbeat music.

“For Their Own Sake (ft. Elliott Skinner, Grace Weber)” is paved with an up-keyed piano melody in the upstart of this moving track.  The song provides a soothing and mellow vibe with a chill tone and with soulful vocals.  This great blend of jazz fusion and soft rock has a nice flow to it filled with a placating quality.

“So Evolved (ft. Grace Weber, James Genus)” starts off with Grace Weber’s mellow vocals.  This relaxing and soothing track has a really cool vibe.  This soulful effort is a real chill acoustic song.  The stripped-down acoustic appeal will really put audiences in a contemplative mood.  The cadences are stirring and rich.

On “God I’m So Alone (ft. Conrad Sewell),” the vocals are tinged with longing and regret.  The soulful R&B vibe is mixed with a jazzy and bluesy feel.  Interwoven into the song is the sound of the piano and flute.  The flute gives off a bewitching stance.  With a dynamic buildup on this moving ballad, the track is about a guy who is down on his luck and things, sadly, just keep getting worse and worse for him as he laments about the events in his life that keeps down on this downward spiral.

“Look Ma No Hands” contains reverberating vocals that are inaudible giving off haunting riffs towards the beginning of this song.  The silken cadences of the acoustic guitar fill this track.

Having collaborated with a great many artists on this record and their previous releases, including, John Scofield and the members of Steely Dan and other musical giants, GKCB show that they are a band with many facets.  Showcasing many different styles and genres, such as jazz fusion, funk, and rock, their latest album is a multi-layered work that shows the band’s many different facades.

Upscale Madhouse is a different side to their work, one with more improvisation that elicits a more powerful and bold vision.

Jazz can be at times messy and unkempt and a little frayed along the edges due to its innovative nature, but with their cool, smooth style, the band plays with a great finesse that is undeterred.

Breath-taking and a refreshing take of the jazz fusion genre, GKCB’s great energy on the record proves their live shows are something to look forward to.

With such chill and mellow performances, be sure you are on the lookout for Gideon King & City Blog, an artist on the rise!


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My Nguyen

My Nguyen is an album reviewer from San Diego, CA. She regularly contributes to Her work has appeared in the following journals: Quietpoly, Community Voices, Espresso 1, The Whistling Fire, The Pedestal Magazine, The Straylight Magazine, Baby Lawn Literature, and Conceit Magazine.

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