New Jazz & Blues – 6/16/2022

New Jazz & Blues – 8/16/2022

New Jazz:

Quentin Baxter Quintet – Art Moves Jazz (Baxter Music Enterprises): “Quentin E. Baxter, a native of Charleston, SC, comes from a family of drummers with his mother leading the troupe. “I’m unable to recall a moment in my youth void of having drums either at home or church.” Baxter’s unique skillsets have garnered a GRAMMY Award as producer/performer, in total 4 GRAMMY Nominations as producer/performer, the 2017 South Carolina Governor’s Award for the Arts, a City of Charleston Proclamation “Quentin E. Baxter Day” – April 25, 2017, the 2017 College of Charleston Alumnus of the Year Award, the 2017 Eddie Ganaway Distinquished Alumni Award, and a 2017 Inductee to the Savannah Coastal Jazz Hall of Fame. Currently touring world-wide with GRAMMY Award winning Gullah sensation RANKY TANKY and multi-Grammy-nominated vocalist/composer René Marie, Baxter regularly performs many of the most prestigious venues and festivals, i.e., The Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.), Jazz at Lincoln Center (New York), SFJazz (San Francisco, CA), Joy of Jazz Festival (South Africa), Toulouse Jazz Festival (France), Umbria Jazz Festival and Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi (Italy), Savannah Jazz Festival, Savannah Music Festival, and, of course, Spoleto Festival USA (Charleston). Baxter’s passion for world-wide performances is paralleled by his dedication to educate, promote, produce, and present world-class artists in his home town and neighboring regional communities. As a testament, from 1997 to 2019 he served as Adjunct Professor of Jazz Studies at the College of Charleston and formed the production company Baxter Music Enterprises (BME, LLC) in 2004. He also serves as Musical Director of the Charleston Jazz Initiative (CJI), a multi-year research project that explore the jazz history and legacy of African American musicians from Charleston and other places in the Carolinas; founding board member of the Jazz Artists of Charleston (JAC); board member of both the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and Engaging Creative Minds; producer of numerous benefit concerts/auctions for Avery Research Center, Jenkins Orphanage, Halsey Gallery, Spoleto USA, and many other artistic organizations who share the same sentiment to enhance and enrich lives via art and music here in the Lowcountry. From 2012-2015, BME, LLC teamed up with Sermet’s Downtown, LLC to create Charleston’s only “listening room” experience, The Mezz – Charleston Jazz Bar. Baxter is currently in the design/development stages of the Baxter Center for Music Performance, Education, and Production – a stand-alone structure designed and dedicated to the presentation and advancement of live music. Educated in the public schools of Charleston County and a graduate of the College of Charleston (Bachelor of Arts – Music Theory & Composition), Baxter cultivated his musical talents under “the wings” of regional legends/mentors Robert Ephraim, Oscar Rivers, Jr, Lonnie Hamilton III, George Kenney, Dr. David Maves, Teddy Adams, and Delbert Felix. Baxter’s musical versatility has enabled him to work with other great artists including Monty Alexander, Ernest Ranglin, Wycliff Gordon, Fred Wesley, Houston Person, and Doug Carn.” (https://baxtermusic.org/bio/)   Click here to listen to “Off Minor”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Is4bra5nYoc

Barry Coates, Jimmy Haslip, Jerry Kalaf – Deep Dreams (Outside In Music): “A celebration of like-minded musicians exploring the cerebral, theexplorative, and the connectivity between the chemistry of a trio setting Electric and syn-guitarist Barry Coates, with his melodic but expressive approach, has been recording solo projects and has worked with some interesting artists over the years, including touring with the Pointer Sisters, Angela Bofill, Willie Bobo, John Klemmer, and Kitaro. Coates has fared equally well on his own. His music is heard in such films as Dead Bang, Partners in Crime, Fatal Attraction, and television shows…. Coates recorded two impressive albums with his band Barry Coates & the Hats, Because I Love You, and Move Like A Dancer. On his third album, The Spirit Within, he collaborated with bass player Jimmy Haslip of the Yellowjackets. New Dreams is a celebration of like-minded musicians exploring the cerebral, the explorative, and the connectivity between the chemistry of a trio setting while uniquely highlighting the collaborative compositions of Coates and Haslip, all presented by seasoned veterans in peak form…. New Dreams is an album to be savored. There is nothing typical or predictable within the grooves of this album. Whether touching on the pensive or the cognitive, the album fires on all cylinders by three top-shelf players…. Barry Coates (guitar, synth guitar), Jimmy Haslip (fretless & fretted bass) and Jerry Kalaf (drums, percussion).” (New Dreams is an album to be savored. There is nothing typical or predictable within the grooves of this album. Whether touching on the pensive or the cognitive, the album fires on all cylinders by three top-shelf players.(https://static1.squarespace.com/static/58e93b851b631be4d8610189/t/62be28dcd51444484b8ae427/1656629468318/FINAL+-+KP+Barry+Coates+Press+Releas) Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this release.

Jeff Coffin – Between Dreaming And Joy (Ear Up): “Between Dreaming and Joy is the latest release from saxophonist, composer and educator Jeff Coffin (Dave Matthews Band/Bela Fleck & the Flecktones). In the company of an eye-popping cast of musicians, the record is a breathtaking culmination of over two years in the studio. Calling upon its enigmatic, pandemic-induced origins, Coffin’s upcoming 10-track collection gathers unusual and new sounds for the saxophonist, speaking to the power of his boundless compositional impulse and eclectic sonic arrest. Coffin is joined by a diverse, all-star group of musicians for his 21st release as a leader. With an impressive and vast lineup, each artist featured on Between Dreaming and Joy’s roster uniquely recorded for it in a different place –  a rare circumstance for Coffin, who notes how recording each component felt like a jigsaw puzzle due to the album’s many pieces. The robust list of Coffin’s collaborators includes: Marcus King, Michael League, Robben Ford, Keith Carlock, Stefan Lessard, Nigel Hall, Kris Myers, DJ Logic, Bob Lanzetti, Jordan Person, Felix Pastorius, Chester Thompson, Buddy Strong, Bernardo Aguiar, Sarah Ariche, Jeff Babko, Mike Baggetta, Jennifer Hartswick, Vicente Archer, Chris Wood, Bill Fanning, Alana Rocklin, Ray Mason, Emmanuel Echem, Chris Walters, Richard Aspinwall, Derico Watson, David Rodgers, Derrek Phillips, Jonathan Wires and Tony Hall. Between Dreaming And Joy, while anchored in spontaneity, captures Coffin’s inclination to transcend genre. The record is sustained by a variety of instrumentation and features 8 bassists, 6 drummers, 5 guitar players, 4 keyboardists, a set of Middle Eastern frame drums, Brazilian percussion, Moroccan vocals, a turntable artist, multiple horns, an ice cream truck, a Hungarian Tarogato and an African Ngoni.Blending the fierce and calm, Coffin invites us into a harmonious realm he describes as a point “between dreaming and joy.” The album opens with the spirited fusion track “Vinnie the Crow”, where DJ Logic joins the lineup on turntables for an uplifting intro co-written by Coffin and Alex Clayton. Encapsulating the spirit of isolation, the title track is infused with whim, offering a reflective tone that at times evokes a blues rock anthem before segueing into a dreamlike, instrumental trance. Marcus King’s prolific offering on guitar here gives meaning to the word ‘joy,’ while Buddy Strong’s moody stroke of the B-3 organ complements the blissful rich harmonic music in the background. Other compositions also pick up on Coffin’s playful curiosities, like “In the Belly Of The Whale,” which utilizes a cluster of Brazilian percussion instruments. The entire record is wrought by an atypical pairing of instruments — on the track “Ruthie,” a tribute to the late Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Kris Myers plays drums as well as a cowbell; while the album closer “Bird & Magic finds Coffin at one point playing a Coca-Cola bottle as a sound device. Nearing the end of his expenditure, Coffin offers a trifecta saxophone performance on “Busting Out All Over,” taking listeners through an engrossing reverie with melodic interplay from David Rodgers on fender rhodes and B-3 organ. Exposing his dexterity with woodwinds, Coffin closes with a flute performance on the groove-infused “Bird & Magic,” a masterclass in nuance. “I felt like I was alternating between dreaming and joy this entire time,” he shares. “These incredible spirits were all there with me as we found our way forward, together from different places.” Demonstrating his affinity for experimentation and profound commitment to the avant-garde, Jeff Coffin takes a tree-top, aerial view on Between Dreaming And Joy, finding commonality in the vibrations of everyday life with a fierce look onward, toward a new and enhanced vantage point.” (https://lydialiebman.com/index.php/project/jeff-coffin/) I regret I can I not find a sample from this release at this date.

Billy Drummond & Freedom Of Ideas – Valse Sinistre (Cellar Music): “Acclaimed drummer and composer Billy Drummond’s Valse Sinistre is his first album as a leader since his 1996 hit, Dubai which was one of the 50 most influential drumming albums of the past 100 years and the top jazz album of the year, as named by The New York Times. His band, Freedom Of Ideas, a quartet he has been leading for the past decade, is a fluid group of those who share similar eclectic tastes and is multi-generational – Dayna Stephens on saxophones, Micah Thomas on piano, and Dezron Douglas on bass. Producer Jeremy Pelt helms his fourth project led by a Black artist as part of his ongoing partnership with Cellar Music Group. The program is a mix of older tunes that Drummond has been playing with other bands as well as newer material and new arrangements.  They open with Jackie McLean’s “Little Melonae,’ a bustling rhythmic piece that features solos from Stephens on tenor, Thomas, and Drummond, who is all over his kit, impressing with remarkable cymbal work, among all his other frenetic activity.  Thomas (best known perhaps for his work with Immanuel Wilkins) is the composer for “Never Ends,” a more introspective and lighter offering that stands out from the others, features Stephens on soprano and Thomas in his signature improvisatory style.  Nuanced harmonies and subtle, yet clearly lyrical interaction among the bandmates mark this one, which builds to a nice steady tempo toward its end. The title track was composed by Carla Bley, with whom Drummond toured for years, making a mental note to record this rather obscure tune of hers.  Thomas introduces the rather angular and heavy chords before Stephens, again on soprano, weaves his way around the tricky start-stop rhythms and twisting changes, with Drummond forcefully navigating. As a listener, one has no idea where it’s going. Call it delightfully unpredictable even though the refrain does appear periodically in both unison and in snippets of solos from Stephens and Thomas. The delicate ballad “Laura” has a pensive Thomas and bursts of Stephens on tenor as if the two of them were having a hushed conversation. Another rarity is Grachan Moncur’s “Frankenstein.” Stephens opens on soprano to a rather feverish rhythm which abates as the piece moves through chambered sections with Douglas and Drummond remaining responsive and loose. Drummond’s sole original, “Changes for Trane and Monk” intercuts John Coltrane’s harmonic ideas with Thelonious Monk’s melodic leaps and tendencies as Stephens holds sway of soprano, where during solo sections, the band almost intuitively forms a trio sound with Thomas laying out, invoking resonant energy from “Chasin’ the Trane.” In December 2020, the community lost Drummond’s friend, pianist, and composer Frank Kimbrough. Drummond is the drummer on Kimbrough’s 6-CD Boxed set, Monk’s Dreams – The Complete Compositions of Thelonious Sphere Monk (Nouvelle, 2018), and the two were also close at Juilliard, sharing similar tastes in music.” Thus Kimbrough’s “Clara’s Room” is an elegiac homage to his friend, five gorgeous minutes of solace with Thomas deftly handling Kimbrough’s piano lines as Stephens steps in at the midpoint on soprano to carry the bright melody before Douglas takes a lyrical turn. Drummond also honors his friend, the recently passed Stanley Cowell with “Reconfirmed,” a tune providing a kind of deconstruction of “Confirmation” that becomes a feature for Thomas steps out swinging rather than resorting to straight-ahead bebop. Drummond is clearly in his comfort zone here, driving and pushing Thomas.  This is a different take, of course than when Drummond recorded it on Cowell’s 2015 release, Reminiscent. “To close, Drummond honors one of the music’s drumming innovators, Tony Williams, with Williams’ composition, “Lawra.” The quartet, principally through Stephens on tenor states the theme and then engages in collective improvisation across the feeling of the whole piece, rather than over melody or changes. Drummond carefully chose these selections and sequenced them in the way he wanted the album to flow, creating one of the more interesting recordings of the year with these brilliant musicians.” (https://glidemagazine.com/278891/drummer-billy-drummond-joins-up-with-quartet-freedom-of-ideas-for-eclectic-valse-sinistre-album-review/) Click here to get samples of all of the songs on this set.

Geoffrey Keezer – Playdate (MarKeez): “On this eclectic new release, the GRAMMY-nominated musician continues to augment and refine his distinctive style. The album’s lighthearted namesake is an homage to the concept of planning a playdate for a group of kids. Rallying a group of distinguished collaborators, Keezer calls this virtuosic cast “Geoffrey Keezer and Friends.” On Playdate, an idiomatic mastery of funk, hard bop, gospel, heavenly strings and the blues is externalized by an all-star musical roster. “I’m trying to dig deeper and deeper into what is my style, my personality as a pianist, and how I can develop it more,” the bandleader adds, commenting on his new offering. On Playdate, Geoffrey Keezer upholds his old friend Christian McBride’s observation that he “never repeats himself.” Expanding beyond the straight ahead and into a vigorous enterprise, Playdate is anchored by decades of rich influences, emanating the mastery of an artist who continues to surprise himself. “I want there to be moments on this record that make you do a double take. I want it to be unpredictable and exciting and fun to listen to.” (https://newworldnjazz.com/geoffrey-keezer-playdate-markeez-records/) Click here to listen to songs from this release.

Joy Lapps – Girl In The Yard – (Self-produced): “Internationally lauded artist and composer Joy Lapps activates spaces for community building and creative expression. The award-winning instrumentalist of Antiguan and Barbudan descent treats the steelpan as a tool for engagement, anchoring her artistry in a profound, community-centered musical tradition. She aims to amplify women’s contributions in every facet of her work, giving nuanced attention to women of the steelband movement.  At her core, Joy connects to music as participatory. The Toronto native has performed alongside Stewart Goodyear, Roberto Occhipinti, Larnell Lewis and the Toronto Mass Choir, and recorded with Gramps Morgan, whose 2022 release Positive Vibration received a GRAMMY nod, Elmer Ferrer, Jeremy Ledbetter, Johnny Reid and her musical mentor, pannist-composer Andy Narell. As a leader, Joy has appeared at Lula Lounge, Toronto Jazz Festival, The Rex, The Jazz Room, Mutahdi’s International Drumming Festival, Island Soul Festival, AfroFest, The Women in Jazz Performance Series, McMaster University Concert Series and Autumn Leaves on Steel; as part of steelbands, she’s performed at the Queen’s Park Savannah for Panorama Semi-Finals with Birdsong Steel Orchestra, Lamport Stadium for Pan Alive with Pan Masters and Pan Fantasy, Le Petit Journal Jazz Lounge with Calypsociation and at the Brooklyn Museum with Pan Fantasy. To date, Joy has issued five independent albums: How Great Thou Art (2004), Make a Joyful Noise (2006), It’s Christmas Time (2007), Morning Sunrise (2014) and forthcoming release Girl In The Yard (2022). Her repertoire teems with Afro-Caribbean- and Afro-Brazilian-inspired rhythmic and harmonic patterns, garlands of melody and plenty of space for spontaneity, and a fondness for hit song forms and reimagined choirs emerges frequently in her compositions….” (https://www.joylapps.com/about) Click here to listen and watch to Joy Lapps.

Thomas Linger – Out In It (Cellar Music): “There is something to be said for moving the music forward while remaining deeply rooted in and respectful of the tradition. North Carolina-born jazz pianist Thomas Linger threads that needle masterfully on his debut album Out In It. Joined by an all-star cast of musicians (Peter Bernstein on guitar, Yasushi Nakamura on bass, and Joe Farnsworth on drums), Linger’s thoughtful and inviting musicianship leaves the listener looking forward to where he’ll take the music next. “Can’t Say It,” one of eight original compositions on the album, sets the scene for the rest of the album. Calling to mind the classic Blue Note records of the 1960s, Linger’s minor blues-adjacent melody leads into a brilliant solo from Bernstein before a hard-driving piano solo that is equal parts block chords and bebop lines. The harmonic motion on “Night Ride” invokes Coltrane, while the guitar melody and piano countermelody have an almost contrapuntal quality. Energetic solos from both Linger and Bernstein push the song forward before Bernstein and Farnsworth trade rhythmic ideas…. Linger’s debut album is all about feeling. Never mind the often-virtuosic performances or the thoughtful compositions. Out In It is jazz as it should be, swinging and cohesive, and we are all lucky to hear it.” (https://www.isrbx.net/3137983380-thomas-linger-out-in-it-2022.html) Quick here to listen “Out In It” from this release.

Brian Lynch – Songbook Vol. 2: Dance The Way U Want To (Holistic Music): “Multi-GRAMMY® Award-winning trumpeter Brian Lynch is proud to announce the release of the second volume of his acclaimed Songbook Series: Brian Lynch And Spheres Of Influence –  Songbook Vol. 2: Dance The Way U Want To, out on August 12 on Hollistic MusicWorks. Lynch’s “Songbook” series reclaims the many original compositions that he recorded for other labels throughout his career on his own label Hollistic Music Works, in new and improved renditions. Coming directly after the critically acclaimed Songbook Vol. 1: Bus Stop Serenade, which was named one of Jazz Times’ Best Albums Of 2021, Dance The Way U Want To continues the project with a focus on works chronicling Lynch’s uniquely personal mixture of straight ahead modern jazz style with Afro-Caribbean musical elements, reflecting his long and distinguished career in both idioms. Click here to learn and amazing story.  https://lydialiebman.com/index.php/2022/07/01/new-release-multi-grammy-award-winner-brian-lynch-presents-songbook-vol-2-dance-the-way-u-want-out-august-12th-2022-hollistic-musicworks/ .

Charlton Singleton – Crossroads (BME):”Charlton Singleton is a native of Awendaw, SC, that received a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance from South Carolina State University. Since then, he has taught music at the elementary, middle, and high school levels and has been an adjunct faculty member at the College of Charleston. In 2008 he co-founded and became the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Charleston Jazz Orchestra, an 18 piece jazz ensemble of some of the finest professional musicians in the Southeast and the resident big band in Charleston, SC. Singleton is also the organist and choir director at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Charleston, SC. He was named the inaugural Artist in Residence at downtown Charleston’s recently renovated Gaillard Center. Singleton was named Artist in Residence Emeritus and led the Summer Youth Jazz Orchestra Camp and led the “Jazz Through the Ages” assembly, which attracts a capacity crowd of students at the Gaillard Center. He is a founding member of the ensemble Ranky Tanky and is in demand as a speaker, clinician, composer, and arranger. Singleton is now releasing an album titled Crossroads. The album features a collection of originals presented by Singleton, Mark Sterbank (tenor sax), Demetrius Doctor (piano), Kevin Hamilton and Delbert Felix (bass), and Quentin Baxter (drums and percussion). The title track opens the album with a catchy bass line, bluesy piano fills, and a memorable melody for two horns. Sterbank’s solo is developed through the form with patience and concentration on melody and time feel. Doctor’s piano solo continues the bluesy colors and adds shifting harmonic patterns and motifs. The feel is transformed to swing with a short interlude as Singleton takes his ride over the form in a swing setting. His tone is warm, and he concentrates on simple melodies. Finally, Baxter solo against an ostinato before the ensemble returns to the theme. “PS (Post Script)” is a straight-eight selection with another well-written two-horn melody. Singleton’s tone is very warm in this selection, and his solo again focuses on simple themes with a flowing time feel. The ensemble supports Singleton with energy and a deep sense of time. Doctor also keeps the time feel at the center as he performs a melodic solo. Baxter’s colors under Sterbank’s solo are impressive and adds direction to the music. Singleton shows his strong compositional skills and focuses on simple direct solos throughout Crossroads. The ensemble follows suit, and the result is a set of easy to listen to jazz that will be of interest to jazz fans and music lovers alike.” (https://thejazzword.com/2021/12/charlton-singleton-crossroads-review/) Click here to listen to Crossroads.

XMelvin Sparks – Spark Plug (Craft Recordings/ Concord): The early-to-mid ’70s found Prestige Records expanding their purview beyond the blues-based soul-jazz that had become their calling card in the late ’60s. Releases from the likes of Idris Muhammad that incorporated more free-jazz and spiritual-jazz elements were reflective of the era’s revolutionary vibes. Nonetheless, the label’s bread and butter still unquestionably laid with funky, soulful, I-IV-V jams from some of the genre’s best and most dependable players. Few in the Prestige stable were as steadily soulful as guitarist Melvin Sparks, whose hollow-bodied guitar appeared on nearly a dozen albums between 1970 and 1971, including Spark Plug, the second of three albums he would record as a leader for the label. This set, like many of his others, breaks little new ground, but what it lacks in innovation it more than makes up for in pure, funky appeal. Generally laid-back, the set is dominated (obviously) by Sparks’ fluid guitar work and some highly complementary organ playing by Leon Spencer and Reggie Roberts. Idris Muhammad is also here, setting aside the cosmic spiritual groove of his then-current solo work for his legendary in-the-pocket rhythms. The guitar-organ-drums trifecta does the majority of the lifting, making this a rhythm-and-groove forward session in which horns are sparingly employed. However, when they do show up—such as Virgil Jones’ crystalline trumpet harmonies on “Who’s Gonna Take the Weight?” (a Kool and the Gang cover) or Grover Washington’s luscious sax on the album’s title track—they are employed to great effect. Even when the horns are blowing strong, this is still Sparks’ show, and on that title track as well as the others, he is quick to flex his skills, running off dizzyingly fast guitar lines in a technically impressive but breezily natural fashion. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz`  Click here for a sample.              https://www.isrbx.net/3137981932-melvin-sparks-spark-plug-2022.html

Neil Swainson – Fire In The West (Cellar): “In 1981, Glenn Gould, the Canadian pianist and, at that point, world’s foremost interpreter of the music of J.S. Bach, rerecorded the composer’s Goldberg Variations, an aria and collection of 30 adaptations with which Gould had begun his recording career in 1955. As the 1981 recording would be Gould’s last, these two highly variegated interpretations, like two friends (to invert a Paul Simon lyric), bookend Gould’s career. Conveniently, the presence of this second recording provides an “other,” against which to compare, contrast and, tapping into the most agency-rich impulse of humanity, to look for evidence of growth, betterment, and evolution within Gould’s musical development. Given that the concept of self-determinism and harnessing one’s inner locus of control is a uniquely species-specific impulse, teleologies, “before and afters” and comparisons continue to fascinate. Neil Swainson, the British Columbia-born bassist, composer and bandleader who has spent much of his life as a dependently brilliant side person for musicians both local (Pat LaBarbera, Don Thompson, Kirk MacDonald) and international (Woody Shaw, George Shearing, Roberta Gambarini), has no intention of making the fine recording his last. That said, a Swainson-led recording is a rarity indeed, and the fact that Fire in the West shares ensemble aggregation, similarly provides revelatory insight into Swainson’s challenging yet decidedly beautiful modern compositions, and offers excellent musical contributions from all principals involved, makes it a wonderful career and sonic analogue to his 1987 recording, 49th Parallel. “Actually,” Swainson states from his Toronto home, “this recording came about because Cory Weeds was in the process of reissuing 49th Parallel [originally released on Concord Records]. In the process of preparing for that re-release, I thought that it was time to do something in a similar vein, using the same quintet format on some current tunes that I’d written.” Not surprisingly, Weeds was eager to offer Cellar Live as a home for a Swainson’s proposed project, and the two men began strategizing ensemble casting.” (https://neilswainsonquintet.bandcamp.com/album/fire-in-the-west) Click here to listen to a sample.

New Blues:

Breezy Rodio – Underground Blues (Wind Chill): “The Italian born blues, soul and reggae guitarist Breezy Rodio first made his mark with Linsey Alexander for a decade before debuting solo in 2011 and importantly on Delmark in 2018. So, yes, he is steeped in Chicago blues with a unique guitar style that according to producer of this album Underground Blues, Anson Funderburgh, traces to his use of his thumb rather than a pick. Together the two have described this latest outing as “Chicago West Side Modern Blues,” a sound that owes to swing, Magic Sam, and maybe just a smidgeon of Funderburgh’s driving Texas approach. Gone unanswered here, as is true for others who recorded on Delmark recently, just what happened that prompted a move to another label? Anyway, Rodio’s searing, captivating sound remains in place beginning with the opener “Half Way In The Devil’s Gate” awash with B3 organ, searing guitar from both he and Funderburgh and a hypnotic, slightly back in the mix vocal that takes a few seconds to adjust to. The vocal and instrumental elements come together forcefully on the clever wordplay of “C.H.I.C.A.G.O” over a shuffle that has Josh Fulero blowing harp and Dan Tabion pounding the piano. The title track is a showcase for Rodio’s burning guitar, exemplifying why Funderburgh commented, “He gets a cool vibe unlike any other guitar player out there.” Funderburgh was also so impressed with Rodio’s custom-made Olivia Rhino guitar, that he used it himself on “Playing My Game Too,” driven hard by bassist Johnny Bradley and drummer Lorenzo Francocci in a funky tune that rests on a series of back beats with Rodio singing passionately over the piercing guitar and swirling B3. Rodio delivers a stern warning to a friend with “That Damn Cocaine,” a tune that begins with a soulful groove but blossoms into a spiraling guitar excursion that accents his admonishing lyrics. The boogie bass line of “The Murder” recalls The Doors “Roadhouse Blues” with Fulero blowing a storm on harp and Rodio taking a stinging guitar solo that doesn’t resemble the one played by Lonnie Mack on The Doors hit. Rodio is singing about a man escaping the fury of a woman scorned, typical blues stuff. “Lightning Strike” moves into slow, smoldering blues with Rodio’s expressive guitar cutting deep as he holds back nothing in the vocal as well. Fulero joins for the jazzy instrumental, “The Asymptomatics,” also a feature for pianist Tabion. The defiant “Let Me Go” sends chills with Rodio reaching into a deep growl on his vocals while Tabion supports on the B3 and Rodio’s guitar hits the right notes, rather than a whole slew of them. “Gerry Told Me is an autobiographical tale of the determination to make it in the music business with the storyline assuming more focus than the music. Tabion’s piano and Fulero’s chromatic harp, sounding almost like a saxophone, drive the New Orleans-styled “Hello Friendo” before Rodio plunges headfirst into the slow burning classic Chicago 12 bar style in “Sugar Daddy” for the disc’s most impassioned track. We get the swinging type of Chicago blues, an extension of 50’s R&B in “Why Did You Go,” yet another example of his clean, fluid guitar playing, a trait he shares with his producer.  The closer is more contemporary as he mixes spoken word with slow, burning sustained notes, declaring his love for the music in “Bluesoned,” a takeoff on “poisoned.” This is authentic  – no wasted notes, impassioned vocals, and that chilling, goosebump inducing guitar playing that only the best who really “feel it” deliver. (Jim Hynes) Click here to listen to “That Damn Cocaine”.

Shemekia Copeland – Done Come Too Far (Alligator): “Award-winning blues, soul and Americana singer Shemekia Copeland will release her powerful, trailblazing new Alligator Records album, Done Come Too Far (on CD and LP), on Friday, August 19, 2022. Possessing one of the most instantly recognizable and deeply soulful roots music voices of our time, Copeland is beloved worldwide for the fearlessness, honesty and humor of her revelatory music, as well as for delivering each song she performs with unmatched passion. Copeland — winner of the 2021 Blues Music Award for B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year — connects with her audience on an intensely personal level, taking them with her on what The Wall Street Journal calls “a consequential ride” of “bold and timely blues.”
Done Come Too Far continues the story Copeland began telling on 2019’s groundbreaking America’s Child and 2020’s Grammy-nominated Uncivil War, reflecting her vision of America’s past, present and future. On Done Come Too Far, she delivers her hard-hitting musical truths through her eyes, those of a young American Black woman, a mother, and a wife. But she likes to have a good time too, and her music reflects that, at times putting her sly sense of humor front and center. Guests on the album include slide guitar wizard Sonny Landreth, Mississippi Hill country blues icons Cedric Burnside and Kenny Brown, Memphis soul keyboard legend Charles Hodges, Oliver Wood (of the Wood Brothers), Americana star Aaron Lee Tasjan and Pat Sansone (of Wilco).
According to Copeland, “This album was made by all sides of me — happy, sad, silly, irate — they’re all a part who I am and who we all are. I’m not political. I’m just talking about what’s happening in this country.” And she doesn’t hold back. Recorded in Nashville and produced by multi-instrumentalist/songwriter Will Kimbrough (who also produced her previous two albums), Done Come Too Far is Copeland at her charismatic, passionate, confrontational best….
Guests on the album include slide guitar wizard Sonny Landreth, Mississippi Hill country blues icons Cedric Burnside and Kenny Brown, Memphis soul keyboard legend Charles Hodges, Oliver Wood (of the Wood Brothers), Americana star Aaron Lee Tasjan and Pat Sansone (of Wilco).
According to Copeland, “This album was made by all sides of me — happy, sad, silly, irate — they’re all a part who I am and who we all are. I’m not political. I’m just talking about what’s happening in this country.” And she doesn’t hold back. Recorded in Nashville and produced by multi-instrumentalist/songwriter Will Kimbrough (who also produced her previous two albums), Done Come Too Far is Copeland at her charismatic, passionate, confrontational best.” Click here to begin your tour through one of the most important statements in years. This is a certified “Wax Devoid Of Cracks”! Professor Bebop!!! Click here to start.

XTedeschi Trucks Band – I Am The Moon: IIl. The Fall (digital only): Tedeschi Trucks take you on a trip on the Moon.

The Texas Horns – Everybody Let’s Roll (Blue Heart): “The Texas Horns, widely recognized as the preeminent hard-blowing three-piece blues, soul and roots music horn section, bring 25 years of stellar live performances, acclaimed session work, and solid album production to their every effort. Based in Austin and San Antonio, The Texas Horns are Mark “Kaz” Kazanoff, tenor sax, harmonica and vocals; John Mills, baritone sax and flute; and Al Gomez, trumpet and flugelhorn. Their third album, Everybody Let’s Roll (Blue Heart Records), is a testament to their years of hard work and genuine fun with thirteen tracks including eleven original compositions, presenting what they call “Their own set of rockin,’ sophisticated blues and R&B music,” clearly establishing The Texas Horns as, not only “sidemen,” but also recording artists and songwriters in their own right. The trio invited special guests to join the party including Jimmie Vaughan, Mike Flanigin, Carolyn Wonderland, Carmen Bradford, Johnny Moeller, Marcia Ball, Anson Funderburgh, Mike Zito, Guy Forsyth, and Michael Cross.”
Their third album, Everybody Let’s Roll (Blue Heart Records), is a testament to their years of hard work and genuine fun with thirteen tracks including eleven original compositions, presenting what they call “Their own set of rockin,’ sophisticated blues and R&B music,” clearly establishing The Texas Horns as, not only “sidemen,” but also recording artists and songwriters in their own right. The trio invited special guests to join the party including Jimmie Vaughan, Mike Flanigin, Carolyn Wonderland, Carmen Bradford, Johnny Moeller, Marcia Ball, Anson Funderburgh, Mike Zito, Guy Forsyth, and Michael Cross.  (https://www.thetexashorns.com/) Sooooo, everybody let’s ROLL!

Patty Tuite – Hard Case Of The Blues (Self-produced): “Patty is a singer/songwriter who embraces the genre of blues, jazz and rock music, Patty started at a young age listening to her mom’s piano playing of hymns, musicals and Boogie Woogie and began playing piano before the age of 5.  Patty began playing guitar at 17 years old focusing on fingerpicking and rhythm and learning Folk music and singing. In the 1980’s she began listening to blues musicians and emulating their styles. Patty began playing guitar out in public and singing at open mic sessions in Springfield, MA during the early the early 1990’s.  This led to her first well received live recording in 1996 “Live At The Tic Toc.”
Her first blues-based band, The Patty Tuite Band, formed in 1999, playing throughout the Southern New England region, gaining fans at clubs, functions, and summer concert festivals.  This experience led to her second recording “Girls Night Out” in 2001 and then “Blond and Blue” in 2007. The band competed in the finals of the Connecticut Blues Society (CTBS) “Blues Challenge” in 2001 and 2005. Due to her showing at the CTBS statewide competitions, two of Patty’s originals were included on the CTBS compilation CDs, “Local Flavor” (2003) and “Blue State Blues” (2007). She also became a judge for the CT Blues Challenge on two occasions.
As well as playing blues from 2007-2017 with two more bands, the Boilermakers and the Percolators, Patty branched out into jazz and played with an eastern CT band, Blue Steam, in 2012. It was a creative and expansive collaboration together, not only playing standards, but reinterpreting popular songs with a jazz bent.” (https://www.pattytuite.com/) Click here to listen to the opening song.  “Hard Case of The Blues”  

Kopastically,

Professor Bebop

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