Last Days of Spring by Ross Krutsinger – reviewed by Chris Mann


Composer, bassist and keyboard player Ross Krutsinger grew up in Colorado and developed his talent playing countless gigs in all genres of music. In addition to writing songs, producing recordings, and building live bands with fellow musicians, Ross has recorded on over two dozen album projects and demo sessions. 

Ross played some of his first recording sessions and received radio airplay in 1994 with reggae artist Tony Lion and pop band Butlers & Thieves. After a Mediterranean tour with a roots-reggae group later that year, Ross formed a reggae/world beat group, Ethnic Background, and released the CD End of Time in 1995, which featured Ross's songs and received national airplay on 130 radio stations. In 1997 Ross joined with blues/rock group, Aquarian Voodoo, who recorded a CD and toured the Arabian Gulf the following year. Ross also recorded and performed with guitar-rock band, Hot Monkey Love, and the Latin-jazz group, Echo Bay.  Ross relocated to Nashville in 2002 and he focuses on session playing, live work and teaching.  This, his first CD, was released in April 2003 and showcases some of his growing list of original compositions. 

The title track has Jim Hoke's soprano sax winding around an intense backing of Krutsinger’s fluid fretless and Tom Grignon’s powerful drumming.  The song builds to a frenzy but ends on a mellow note.  A Hammond B3 opens the very rhythmically complex Heptad Fool.  The sax and trumpet are so tight and the harmony is pure Brecker Brothers!!  Both horn players have the last name Rahn so, who knows, maybe these crisp brass harmonies are a "brother" thing.  The bass really flies around on this song. 

Cinquefoil is a similarly rhythmically complex tune and I love the upfront keyboard sound they used here.  The high-register fretless solo is nice! I also like the funky backbeat on the vocal Wicked Road.  I enjoyed Anthony Terrazza's effects-laden guitar more than his vocal on this rock-tinged song. 

There's a bluesier feel to the grand Scares Me to Think.  That alto sax out front is very expressive on this big ballad.  The keyboard solo is a good one, though the instrument has a strange tone.  The smooth jazz crowd (you know who you are...) will lap up the moody If We Fly with its slow-but-funky bass and Darren Rahn's sexy tenor sax - lush!!  The guitar-like bass solo (think Brian Bromberg) points to Krutsinger's massive talent - he also composed the song.  Rewind! 

One Minute shows the funky side of Ross's playing but instead of developing into the crazy instrumental I hoped for, it becomes a lacklustre vocal song.  I was waiting for Steve Boynton's guitar to break out but it remains very restrained.  Bob Marley's Concrete Jungle receives a vibrant latin treatment and the percussion is entertaining and varied throughout.  As it opens out, the song lets Krutsinger loose on a running bassline and Darren Rahn sounds sublime.  Don't overlook the spirited piano of Bob Schlesinger while all this is going on... 

Mt Sanitas starts with the funkiest and tightest of fretless lines – shades of Pastorius.  The percussive accents from the piano and that tough snare drum really drive this jazz-rock tune nicely.  '70's bands like The Headhunters and L.A. Express would have let the guitarist go even crazier than Steve Boynton is allowed to here.  This must be a knockout song when played live!!  Instructions to a Smuggler - intriguing song and strange lyric - but Trez Gregory's vocal is a good one on this strutting number.  Krutsinger's love for the offbeat resurfaces on Muso Seffuso, which is not as complex a tune as it sounds to begin with.  The staccato organ licks and heavily wah-wah'd guitar make for a very deliberate beat, and the bass comes in a little heavy-handed on the middle eight. 

I'm always going to be happy to hear a virtuoso bass player release a CD and Ross Krutsinger is really setting out his stall here.  Fans of funk and jazz-rock are not left wanting and the compositional talents on view are impressive.  If you like your bass playing adventurous, in the Jimmy Haslip and Brian Bromberg vein, check this out on CD Baby. 



Two Hound Sound 2HS-3625-1  Producer – Ross Krutsinger