Review: Taxi Chain

Taxi Chain
“Smarten Up”
(NorthernBlues Music)

This bagpipe jazz pop band could work easily as hip novelty music and expressive/unusual instrumental jams.  Consider “Barbie Doll” and “American Style” off the band’s earlier Bagpipe Juke Joint (Blue Chains Music, 1995).  However this is the group founded by the rebel with the Highland bagpipes, Grier Coppins (Rare Air).  Coppins pushed his group, and a group of some very talented individuals it is.  This newest release from the band shows the group to be a sophisticated, mature blues unit that puts quality above shtick.  The opening track “Memphis” is a rich homage to that fabled city delicately sung by Coppins with the bagpipes aside.  That instrument comes out, along with bright tin whistle, for the fun and upbeat medley that is the Celtic instrumental title track.  “Cut Me a Key” is another catchy, Memphis blues number (this time with a taste of country) that helps constitute the bevy of good songs that balance the instrumental jams on this exquisite, cross-genre album.