Soul/blues singer whose style is characterized by a gritty, impassioned vocal style and precise, textured guitar playing.He may not be a household name, but die-hard blues fans know Little Milton as a superb all-around electric bluesman – a soulful singer, an evocative guitarist, an accomplished songwriter, and a skillful bandleader. He's often compared to the legendary B.B. King – as well as Bobby "Blue" Bland – for the way his signature style combines soul, blues, and R&B, a mixture that helped make him one of the biggest-selling bluesmen of the '60s (even if he's not as well-remembered as King). As time progressed, his music grew more and more orchestrated, with strings and horns galore. He maintained a steadily active recording career all the way from his 1953 debut on Sam Phillips' legendary Sun label, with his stunning longevity including notable stints at Chess (where he found his greatest commercial success), Stax, and Malaco.
While the blues is one of the clearest roots of conventional jazz tradition, few but saxophonist Dave Liebman could release an album that covers as many stylistic bases as Blues All Ways. There's good reason why Liebman can create a blues homage ranging from the 7/4 Memphis shuffle of "Elvis the Pelvis" and lithe, harmonically sophisticated swinger "Down Time" to the ethereal "Riz's Blues." With a quartet with this much shared history, the saxophonist has a lean but highly flexible unit that can not only handle anything he throws at it, but can lob more than a few surprises back at him. Any release from this group is worth hearing but Blues All Ways, like the largely undiscovered masterpiece Conversation (Sunnyside, 2003), stands out amongst its growing discography.