The recorded legacy of Elvis Presley continues to be discovered by new generations that never saw him or heard him perform live. It's hard to appreciate that he started so much of what we take for granted now in popular music. Until 1956, the teenagers of suburban America, and the rest of the world, had to endure ditties by Rosemary Clooney and Perry Como but everything was about to be tossed upside down. On January 28 on a cold night in New York, Elvis took America by storm as he appeared on CBS-TV's Stage Show hosted by Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey. On February 4 for his second appearance he sang a song that literally changed the world of popular music "Heartbreak Hotel". Its unique sound and style literally blew everything before it away while at the same time inducing the blueprint for everything that was to come; by April, it would be #1 on Billboard.
Jack Walrath and his Masters of Suspense turn to an idiom that was once among jazz's more popular, but in recent years has been almost ignored – funk/soul-jazz. Besides a decent remake of James Brown's "Get On The Good Foot," the group opens with "Anya And Liz On The Veranda" and also does Charles Mingus' "Better Get Hit In Your Soul." Walrath's trumpet and flugelhorn horn solos are always intense and occasionally exciting; only the Brown remake falters, mainly because it was a textbook funk piece and doesn't translate well to a straight instrumental setting. Otherwise, the Masters of Suspense do a good job of displaying their soul-jazz chops.