Monte Montgomery tears it up on the fretboard and the mic, and he's brought a strong rhythm section just for reinforcement. His guitar playing describes a true wealth of sounds–just picture a slap-bass player on an acoustic steel string with a penchant for Stevie Ray Vaughn, and you'll be in the ballpark. At the same time, his blazing fingerstyle, precise, percussive accompaniment, and exceedingly creative use of harmonics are only part of his truly unique guitar style. And Montgomery's outstanding technique does not prevent him from delivering a clear, melodic solo that dances through the changes.The folk-tinged songwriting is well developed, and this man's got stuff to say about life and love. In fact, Montgomery is an impressive, versatile vocalist in his own right……
With the exception of the late Amos Milburn, all of the artists presented here have proved to be survivors. None of them is young any more and each has suffered years if not decades of neglect and hardship. But on the brighter side, Charles Brown and Floyd Dixon are now receiving the sort of recognition and honours that equal and perhaps in some ways surpass the fame they enjoyed in their heyday. As for H-Bomb Ferguson, bis own resurgence has ensured that his wigs are made from the best materials.
Ah, Beale Street. lf you‘re into the blues, there are locations that conjure with the imagination. In Chicago, it‘s Maxwell Street, in Detroit, Hastings Street, in Los Angeles, Central Avenue. But for longevity and romance, incident and especially music, most bluesfans would set their feet on Beale Street‘s weaving sidewalk in any decade between the 20s and the 50s. Not that many white people did until the latter decade, for the area was as lawless as it was libidinous. Authorities left Beale Streeters to their own devices, sending in the wagons after dawn to clear away the bodies accrued from another night‘s misadventures…..
Trumpeter Dave Douglas has participated in so many styles of music that listing them all would be mesmerizing. Some of his best work has been performed in free style and hard bop jazz groups. Here, he charts a different path, albeit one that he has pursued successfully before, in a mellow, lovely vein. Douglas is the only horn, backed by Guy Klucevsek's eclectic accordion, Mark Feldman's gloriously sweet violin, and Greg Cohen's acoustic string bass. With some exceptions, the dynamics are generally low, the tempos slow, and the mood serene. There is almost a post-minimalism to it all, capped by the exquisite sound of Douglas' trumpet.
Thigpen has a deft hand on the drums, and this live set from the Copenhagen Jazz House in 1998 is good proof of his skill. Never one to grandstand, he puts the music first. His trio, with Carsten Dahl on piano and Jesper Bodilsen on bass, lays down some straightforward and pleasing traditional jazz, with nice original tunes by all members of the band.