From the first few measures of this disc you might get the idea that you just popped in a new jazz album. However, as the music carries on it becomes pretty obvious that Ernie Hendrickson and The Make Believe are actually a jam band who just happen to incorporate large amounts of jazz into the mix that makes up their original sound. The opening title cut, in fact, contains more of that genre than just about anything else on the disc. It's also a great opening volley, but the truth is, these guys are in it for the whole game, not just a good play or two. When the second cut, the hard rocking "Runnin'", jumps in, it's also a pretty good indication that these guys have a diverse playbook, as it has a completely different texture with a bunch of classic rock merged into the mix.
Listening to this disc you'll be hard pressed to believe that it's a debut outing, but it is! The band show a definite sense of solid songwriting and great instrumental prowess. They also have four singers in the outfit, so that serves to give a full vocal presence. The production on the CD is spot on, as is pretty much everything else. I have to give bonus points for the title "Showtime at the Apollo Creed." Sorry, but I have a thing for clever titles. This Chicago based quartet really does everything right here.
It seems a foregone conclusion that fans of jam band music will enjoy this one. The truth is, though, that is not the only group of people who will appreciate this offering. There's enough smooth jazz to endear it to many folks who enjoy that style of music. Classic rock fans should also eat it up. Even prog rockers will find plenty to like here. In fact, this disc is a pretty universally appealing release. What a way to start off their career - here's to seeing where they go next!