Personnel: Danny Amis, Greg Townson, Eddie Angel (guitar); Jerry Vivino (tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone); Mark Pender (trumpet); Richie "La Bamba" Rosenberg (trombone); The Basic Cable Horns (horns); Jason Smay (drums); Janne Haavisto (percussion).
Audio Mixer: Janne Haavisto.
Recording information: E-Studio, Helsinki, Finland; The Powow Fun Room.
Jet Set, the 14th studio album from Nashville's masked marvels of instrumental guitar rock Los Straitjackets, sounds pretty much the way you'd expect an album from this band to sound -- and that's one of the most satisfying things about it. Guitarist and co-founder Danny Amis (aka Daddy-O Grande) was forced to drop out of the band after he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, but after a grueling two years of treatment, he returns to action on Jet Set, and longtime fans will heave a sigh of relief as they spin this disc and hear that Amis and his bandmates are sounding as sharp as ever. Los Straitjackets have been mining '60s instrumental rock for inspiration since 1988, and Jet Set demonstrates they haven't hit bottom just yet. From the slam-bang intro of "Crime Scene," the exotic escapades of "New Siberia" and "Sardinian Holiday," and the soulful strut of "Brooklyn Slide" to the frantic report of "Pop Rocks & Coke," the Latin accents of "Walking Down 3rd Street," and the easygoing pop melodicism of "Aerostar," Los Straitjackets still have lots of tuneful notions after more than two decades on the stand, and they thankfully still have the chops to make them fly. The light-speed picking by Amis and Eddie Angel on "Space Mosquito" is nothing short of dazzling, drummer Jason Smay masterfully drives the tunes and punctuates the melodies at the same time, and bassist Peter Curry keeps the bottom end locked down tight. Los Straitjackets haven't reinvented themselves on Jet Set, but that's not what this album is about. Instead, this music celebrates survival, perseverance, and most importantly the sheer joy of making music, and Jet Set captures a great band having a ball in the studio. Give it a listen and you'll be having a pretty fine time yourself. ~ Mark Deming
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