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Amendola vs. Blades: Everybody Wins (Royal Potato Family)

A review of the duo's second album

Amendola vs. Blades, Everybody Wins
The cover of Everybody Wins by Amendola vs. Blades

Having first collaborated for a 2006 performance of Duke Ellington’s Far East Suite, organist/keyboardist Wil Blades and drummer Scott Amendola stepped out as a recording duo with 2017’s cheekily titled Greatest Hits album. For their second release, journeymen musicians Amendola (Nels Cline Singers, T.J. Kirk, Bill Frisell) and Blades (Billy Martin, Stanton Moore, Charlie Hunter) offer another heavy dose of loose-limbed, deeply funky jazz-tinted grooves and catchy riffs. 

The California-based Amendola vs. Blades, more of an intuitive collaboration than the friendly rivalry suggested by the group’s name, certainly references the likes of Hunter’s various groups, as well as Medeski Martin and Wood, and to a lesser extent Soulive—it’s all about the sticky rhythms, varied textures, and occasional experimental touches. And it’s easy to connect the dots between these two and the guest musicians who fill out the sound on some tracks: percussionist Cyro Baptista, who works with Amendola in the Nels Cline Singers, Hunter associate Skerik on saxophone, Tortoise guitarist Jeff Parker, and keyboardist Rob Burger (Laurie Anderson, Tin Hat Trio).

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Philip Booth

Philip Booth is a longtime arts journalist and bass player based in Florida. Formerly the pop music critic for the Tampa Tribune, he has contributed to many national publications, recently including the Washington PostJazziz, and Relix. His byline also has appeared in DownBeat, Bass Player, Billboard, Variety, Spin, Rolling Stone, and several academic journals. The debut CD from his band, Acme Jazz Garage, gained airplay on about 35 radio stations across the US.