Steve & Mattie DeDoes, Louis Johnson go “Right Down The Middle” in new CD release

(Click here to access the CD tracks)

“We didn’t really plan to do a CD,” said Steve DeDoes.  “Our intention was simply to produce a video demo for the ‘North Coast Horns’.”

However, in the course of constructing and recording the music for their new, “Small Band — BIG SOUND” video, DeDoes and Louis Johnson realized they were getting down some really nice tracks.

“Our focus was to present a basic package to show off our group, and how it truly works for so many kinds of events,” Johnson said.  “Because of the versatility of our horn combinations, we’re really able to pull off the ‘big band’ thing with a small group – and we wanted potential customers to see that.”  While the NCH plays a wide range of repertoire, the song selections for the video were chosen in order to highlight the classic big band sound.

Johnson elaborates.  “We picked tunes out of our list that would present a fundamental concept, and would demonstrate the swing, ‘rat pack,’ and other styles that people find so appealing and entertaining.”  Vocals by Johnson himself (“Almost Like Being In Love”), DeDoes (“Ain’t That a Kick In The Head”), and guest artist Inez Brooks Porter (“Sentimental Reasons”) add to the stellar rhythm and horn sections, making clear the overall appeal of the North Coast Horns ensemble.

But as the recording session progressed, some transcendent moments, along with an overall quality and appeal, became readily apparent.  “I’m proud of how some of our distinctive arrangements came out,” says DeDoes, pointing to the aforementioned charts as ones that are unique to the NCB.  “And,” he adds, “the Basie and other standard big-band versions really worked well, too.  We’ve obviously had success with this stuff in live situations, but we were just really pleased with how the recordings came out.  We knew that a lot of people would simply enjoy hearing this.”

Featured solo performances by Steve, Louis, and Mattie DeDoes are part of the uniqueness of “Right Down The Middle.”  The drumming provided by Detroit stalwart David Taylor, however, really takes the recordings “over the top,” according to DeDoes.  “People will really enjoy David’s playing,” he says.  “It truly makes us sound BIG.”

Along with the NCH tracks recorded for their video, the addition of Mattie & Steve’s version of “When Sunny Gets Blue,” really rounds out the disc.  It adds an intimate and unusual version of a classic standard as counterpoint to the “big sound” in the rest of the CD.

Click here to access the tracks of “Right Down The Middle”.

To see the video demo, visit our “North Coast Horns” page (also at

To obtain a “Right Down The Middle” CD from DeDoes Music, contact us.