Ola Dixon: Labor of Love

A long time veteran of the New York City blues scene, drummer-singer Ola Dixon steps up to the plate and hits a homer with her debut release, Labor of Love (Severn 0006; 42:44). Produced by guitarist Jimmy Vivino of TV’s Late Night With Conan O’Brien, this earthy offering focuses on Ola’s sweet-soul vocals and rock steady pulse behind the kit. Vivino provides piano, organ and trumpet accompaniment throughout, deferring to Brian Bisesi for most of the guitar work. His brother, Jerry Vivino, is featured on saxophones, including some old school tenor honking on “Won’t Be Down Long” and “Since You’re Home.” Dave Maxwell adds some excellent honky tonk piano playing on Jay McShann’s “My Darkest Night,” Roy Milton’s “Baby, I’m Gone” and Elmore James’ “Baby Please Set a Date.” This one’s a real sleeper.