Professor Louie & The Crowmatix: Over the Edge
Professor Louie & The Crowmatix released their first CD for Breeze Hill Records, entitled Over The Edge in the fall of 2000 (the album is available from Woodstock Records).
Aaron "Louie" Hurwitz, long time co-producer and engineer for groups as The Band, Mercury Rev, Four Men & A Dog, David Nelson Band, and Rick Danko, comes up front on this album as singer, performer and writer. The Crowmatix released a CD with Levon Helm in 1998 entitled Souvenir Vol.1 on Woodstock Records.
Over The Edge consists of ten songs, five of which, are originals by Professor "Louie" and his co-writing singer, partner Marie Spinosa. One song on the CD - the soulful ballad "No Division - Heart And Soul" was also co-written with The Band's Rick Danko, who Professor Louie performed and recorded with for many years as a duo.
Over The Edge is a musical blend of Rock, Folk and R'n'B. The opening track "Restless Islands" written by Kevin Doherty of Irelands Four Men & A Dog, has a strong lead vocal by Professor Louie, great harmony with The Crowmatix and some fine mandolin playing by Levon Helm. The title track of this CD is the tune "Over The Edge" - an exciting original song with great drumming from Gary Burke, groovin' bass playing by Mike Dunn and funky piano playing from Louie.
"The Great Beyond" - an extremely well written original song bound to become a classic piece of music - has a moving lead vocal by Professor Louie. It features fine guitar work by Jim Eppard weaving in and out of the vocals to build to the end of the song and then fades out with tearful whistling. "Tear Of The Clouds" - a song written about a train on the Hudson Line - changes to Marie Spinosa singing the lead vocal. This song uses a blend of acoustic instruments, mandolin, accordion, jaw harp, and acoustic guitar with some wild synthesis bringing a fresh combination of sound to a strong rhythm track.
Over The Edge continues to hold your interest by bringing in a horn section that The Crowmatix have worked with for five years, live in concert and in the studio. On this original track "A Few Hours", Tom "Bones" Malone from the David Letterman show arranged the horns and also plays trombone along with the tenor sax of Lenny Pickett from Tower of Power. The world-renowned baritom sax of Ronnie Cuber and the trumpet playing of Jim Hynes round out the horn section, which can be heard on four songs on this CD.
The song "Someone" is a near perfect rendition of an obscure R'n'B song by the great singer Etta James. It shows Marie Spinosa's depth of vocal range and unique interpretation and the highlight is a call and response vocal ending with the Crowmatix background vocals and the horn section. The same rings true on a little known Ashford and Simpson composition, "Runnin Out," where the horns and The Crowmatix breakout into a jamming ending.
Over The Edge utilizes many different instruments and in the song "No Division - Heart And Soul" Garth Hudson adds some great keyboard lines. The beautiful string section arranged by the violinist Larry Packer compliments the soulful singing of Louie and the high background vocals of Marie Spinosa.
An exciting version of The Band's "Endless Highway" sung by Professor Louie brings out the skills of his Hammond organ playing along with the virtuosity of guitar player Mike DeMicco.
A final jam on the Grateful Dead song "Scarlet Begonias" rounds out the fifty-four minute CD with Louie on lead vocals and accordion, great Hammond organ work by Garth Hudson and a moving trombone solo by Tom Malone. Special guests Barry Sless and Mookie Siegel from David Nelson Band round out the jam that brings out the musicianship and singing of The Crowmatix.
Professor Louie & The Crowmatix - Over the Edge - 2000 - Breeze Hill Records