Habaka K.F.J. Interview
with Theresa Haaris
From 2010 I became an endorser of the Italian UFIP Cymbals factory, world leading exporter.
The series I use are: Extatic series, Natural series and Collector series.
In September 2017 I received the complete set for the American tour "Heritage Blue" with Habaka K.F.J. & Shakeblues Band.
I thank Alberto Biasei, the UFIP leader. I thank Shawn Eisbernd for helping me to supply cymbals.
UFIP 1931 Jazz Series
Loris Veronesi in "Living Blues"
issue # 249 Vol. 48 #3
Husky tone – HTRR01-122136
As the daughter of Melvin Jackson, saxofonist in the legendary B.B. King Blues Band, sassy
and soulful female vocalist Habaka (Kay Foster Jackson) delivers what appears to be her first
recording as a bandleader, titled Heritage Blue, a subtle nod to her dad
and his relationship with the King.
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Italy’s Claudio Zambenedetti,
Habaka’s European band members include Fabio Betto (guitar)
Eric Demmer (sax), Francesco Mazilli (bass) and Loris Veronesi (drums).
The song roster contains primarily blues and R&B cover tunes that serve
As “can’t miss” crowd pleasers
The album get off to a slow start with “live” trak – Like the sunshine,
a slow 6/8 shuffle. This opening salvo isn’t typical of a studio album
(a in-concert track might appear last, as a final parting gift).
The next tune, Ain’t no love in the heart to the city,
doesn’t have a lot to offer in terms of freshness.
The trilli s gone is a minor-key blues that employs more of a funky shuffle
For the primary groove rather than the original hard, straight-eighth packet
That B.B. established (good guitar and organ solo, through).
Just a little better is an original piece co-written by bassist Mazilli and Donato Cuzzato,
Hammond organist on the album, Habaka pleasantly sounds like Roberta Flack
whe she sings the repeated hook of the melody “doin’the things I like”.
Strange fruit uses an entirely different band and is a refreshing take,
which employs muted trumpet (by James “Boogaloo” Bolden),
rain stick, djembe drum, acustic piano and acoustic bass. It’s an effective
arrangement, and Habaka offers a passionate rendition.
Charles Singleton’s classic Help the poor is a prestty straghtforaward,
unadorned delivery, and Love on the brain gets a similar treatment.
Rollin and tumbling get a very nice dressing-a medium-paced gallop,
with tasty overdubs on dobro, banjo and slide guitar by Betto, in addition
to juicy, front-porch blues harp by Marco Pandolfi.
Habaka gives downright gritty vocals as the tempo increses to a foot-stompin’
Pitch-one really wishes the disc had a lot more of this passionate delivery
Of authentic rural blues.
I sing The blues (down and dirty) has Eric Demmer playng some greasy sax
while Pandolfi continues to impress with his sweet blue har tone.
Fabio Betto finally steps forward and claims his spot in a short but fiery
burst of a blues guitar solo.
Habaka hits a home run with the evocative dark mood of I Put a Spell on You,
replete with a soulful two-part harmony chorus, followed by a nasty
Hammond organ solo and great shout-chorus horn section backgrounds
led by Eric Demmer and his crew.
Guess who is a clear tribute to B.B. King’s presence on this album through his
Logtime servant. Boogaloo Bolden, who, in turn, passes down his expert horn session
arrangement to Habaka She does the song some serious justice, with sensitive
lyrics delivered delicately.
The set goes out on an up-tempo swingin’ version of Ain’t Nobody’s Business,
delivered with just the right ammount of sassiness the tune deserves.
To be sure, there are a few moments that fall flat on the disc, but there are
Even more high points scattered throughout.
All in all, it has to be said: the woman can really sing.
- Wayne Coins