Produced by Duke Robillard and utilizing his band as the backing unit, Cool Blues Walk is tightly focused from note one, making a marvelous framework for “The Chief” to do exactly what he does best. With the exception of the covers “Sen-Say-Shun,” “Stranded,” and “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” Eddy Clearwater wrote every tune aboard in his usual wide range of styles from the rocking “Very Good Condition” to the country-ish “Nashville Road” to the shuffling “Boppin’ at the Top of the Rock.” Clearwater continues to surprise with a rare appearance playing piano and singing the decidedly non-blues-like ballad “I Love You” which also features Marilyn Mair and Mark Davis adding mandocello and mandola to this distinctive tune. Robillard shares solo space with Clearwater throughout the album, and their exchanges on the moody “Blues for a Living” is solid blues playing in two contrasting styles. Perhaps Clearwater’s most focused album to date, this 1998 outing captures a ’50s West Side bluesman still at the peak of his abilities.
New York guitar phenom walks tall in the blues tradition with this third album, jettisoning fiery riffs inspired by John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Elmore James, and Albert Collins into the future with furious playing, a hard-rock sensibility, and a grizzled voice that owes a debt to Gregg Allman. Equally inspired by the Delta blues and the mid-’60s British blues boom, the young firebrand–who titled this CD after a Rod Stewart song penned while in the Jeff Beck Group–is able to fuse those two schools together, creating edgy blues rock.”
If you are into blues, good blues, try the Nimmo Brothers. You may not be familiar with them, they are Scottish, but they can play the blues. Try a few tracks, She’s All Mine, or Long Way From Everything, The Thrill Is Gone, or Help Me, and you will be ready to get this album. It is live and the Glascow crowd is into the band. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
A chronological journey through the history of Alligator Records, as
told by songs from 35 of the label’s most memorable debut releases. Two
CDs, 35 songs, over 145 minutes of music, plus a detailed 44-page
booklet at a single disc price. Contains no repeat tracks from any
previous Alligator anniversary title or our Crucial Blues series.
Van Morrison’s third commercially released live album takes a show format that frequently spotlights the backup band, led by organist/singer Georgie Fame and featuring singers Brian Kennedy and James Hunter, as well as saxophonist Candy Dulfer and blues singers John Lee Hooker, Junior Wells, and Jimmy Witherspoon. Even Morrison’s daughter Shana comes on to sing his “Beautiful Vision.” The material is not limited to Morrison compositions, either. In fact, it isn’t so much that Morrison and company cover a variety of rock, pop, blues, R&B, and jazz standards as that many pieces are medleys that contain complete songs and quotes from others, rather in the way that a jazz soloist will suddenly throw in a few bars of a familiar tune. Those who want to see Morrison as an esoteric singer/songwriter rather than a showman may find this album a mongrel creation, but it’s undeniably lively, and that’s the first requirement of a live album.
2008 reissue of this album from the master percussionist who studied Jazz drumming at Berklee School of Jazz. In the 1970’s he recorded a string of innovative albums for Island records which utilized the talents of such leading musicians as Hugh Hopper, Maurice Pert, Steve Winwood, Michael Shrieve and Klaus Schulze, fusing his percussion talents with Jazz, Electronic and Classical music to create an ambient form of music all of his own. His music has been used by the Royal Ballet.
The album Go, released in April 1976, was a fine achievement and Yamashta assembled a band featuring collaborators Steve Winwood, Michael Shrieve, Klaus Schulze and Al Di Meola to deliver a series of stunning concerts. The Parisian concert was captured by Island Records and was released as Go! Live From Paris in 1977. Esoteric.
The ’90s lounge revival and the hubbub surrounding acid jazz would seem ideal reasons for veteran jazz organist Jimmy Smith to pull rank and power up his Hammond B-3 for the sort of greasy grooves and ur-funk riffs that remain the blueprint. Instead, Smith pulls a smarter move: subtitled “Ballads & Slow Jams,” the set finds him teaming with younger labelmates Roy Hargrove, Nicholas Payton, Mark Whitfield, and Christian McBride and downshifting into a program of ballads culled from jazz and classic- pop perennials. From Oliver Nelson’s “Stolen Moments” and Neal Hefti’s “Lil’ Darlin'” to slices of Mancini, Gershwin, and Matt Dennis’s title song (forever associated with Sinatra), a slow jam by any other name translates to make-out music–in this case, of the most elegant, highly satisfying order.
Not socking soul, but laidback jazz – an under-acknowledged side of James Brown’s career, presented fully in this excellent collection of work from the 60s! The package shows a growing sophistication in James’ music as the 60s moved on – not just in his vocals, which were surprisingly suited to a jazzy ballad, but also in his instrumental work on organ – which is featured here in a few key cuts that step out strongly! And even if you’re a fan of The Godfather for many years, there’s still some important highlights here – as a number of tracks are rare versions or previously unreleased – including “That’s My Desire (alt mix)”, “After You’re Through (extended version)”, “Tengo Tango”, “Home At Last (alt mix)”, “There (unreleased version)”, “What Do You Like (stereo single edit)”, “Go On Now (alt mix)”, “For Once In My Life (alt mix)”, and “Cottage For Sale (alt mix)” – along with already issued tracks “All The Way”, “Why Am I Treated So Bad”, and “All About My Girl”
Duke Elegant certainly wasn’t the only tribute to Duke Ellington put out in honor of the 100th anniversary of the legendary bandleader, nor was it even the first time Dr. John had tackled his material. But it would be hard to find a better homage than this one. Dr. John proves a surprisingly good match for Ellington’s material, placing a tremendously funky foundation under the composer’s tunes. The sound is dominated by the good doctor’s incomparable New Orleans piano and organ, naturally, and the best tracks are those whose melodies are carried solely by his keyboard work, such as instrumentals “Caravan” and “Things Ain’t What They Used to Be.” The vocal cuts are fine — his takes on the Ellington ballad “Solitude” and especially the dreamy, elegant “Mood Indigo” show off Dr. John’s uniquely expressive voice as well as any of his early-era recordings — though he occasionally tends to approach self-caricature, as on “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing).” Any weakness, however, is more than made up for by the closing rearrangement of “Flaming Sword,” one of three Ellington rarities here. Dr. John transforms the instrumental into a luminous, gorgeously melodic display of Professor Longhair-style piano over an astonishingly sexy New Orleans funk rhythm. Ultimately, Duke Elegant holds up both as an innovative twist on the Ellington songbook and as a solid Dr. John album in its own right.