Blues de la France

NZZ Blues Band at the Malt Shovel Tavern

27 April 2011

Nico' ZZ Blues (formerly known as NZZ Blues) are a blues outfit from the Champagne-Ardenne region of France fronted by singer/guitarist Nicolas Zdankiewicz. They generally tour the UK once or twice a year and are a regular feature on the Malt Shovel Tavern gig list.

I saw the band perform at The Malt Shovel a couple of times before, but this latest visit compounded my respect for the band. There was a marked improvement in Nicolas' guitar work, and he has not only matured into a fine blues player, but also a songwriter and arranger of considerable talent. Supported by the intricate fretwork of name? on bass, and the young and exceptionally talented Francois Cossin on drums, the trio bashed out an interesting mix of self-penned songs and blues standards.

They delivered a very palatable rendition of B.B.King's "The Thrill Has Gone", and a convincing interpretation of the ever popular Hendrix's "Voodoo Chile" and "Foxy Lady".

But it was their own original compositions that gripped me the most. Nico employed some interesting 3-note and 4-note chord voicings, and combining these with some simple but cleverly crafted signature licks, added interest and variation to their own material.

The levels were ideal, and Nico's Stratocaster produced a classic blues sound via the Fender Deluxe valve amp without requiring too much volume.

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