On this trio album, Samantha Fish, Cassie Taylor, and Dani Wilde begin with the Rolling Stones' "Bitch" and end with the Steve Miller Band's "Jet Airliner," each taking a verse. The rest of the album is devoted to original compositions written by one or the other of the performers in a variety of blues styles, and the instrumentation also varies, though Taylor (daughter of Otis Taylor, with whom she played extensively), as the bassist, appears on almost every track. The exception is also the only solo track, Wilde's folk-blues number "Reason to Stay," on which she plays Dobro. Wilde also takes much of the lead guitar work, with Fish getting lead work on her own "Come on Home" and "Wait a Minute," as well as Taylor's "Move On." The switch-offs make for a good balance, and it's not surprising that this triumvirate has toured together in Europe. The album should help make their names better known, but that also might reduce their impetus to stay together.
Bill Carrothers (born in Minneapolis, 1964) began his career as a teenager, when he played with local bands in his hometown; then in 1988, he moved to New York City. Carrothers has played many venues throughout the U. S. and Europe including the Village Gate, Knitting Factory, Birdland, Blues Alley, New Morning (Paris), the Audi Jazz Festival in Brussels, the Nevers Jazz Festival (where he shared the bill with Abbey Lincoln), the Montreal Jazz Festival , Jazz Middelheim, and the Marciac Festival in France. At his last album Love and longing (2013, La Buisonne) Carrothers proofs his singing is of high level.
The Johnny Hodges-Wild Bill Davis Project, Vol. 4. BLUE HODGE (LP). This out-of-print LP (which has not yet been reissued on CD) is the earliest of several matchups between altoist Johnny Hodges and organist Wild Bill Davis. With the assistance of Les Spann on guitar and flute, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Louis Hayes, Hodges and Davis mostly stick to fresh material, including three then-recent originals by Gary McFarland. Highlights include "Azure Te," "It Shouldn't Happen to a Dream" and "There Is No Greater Love," in addition to some swinging blues.
PA-born pianist Degen has a hell of a resume: in the 60's, he lived in Germany, playing with expatriates Art Farmer & Leo Wright, returned to the USA where he had a trio with Paul Motian & Gary Peacock (unrecorded) and played in Buddy DeFranco's Glenn Miller Band, then returned to Germany & joined Albert Mangelsdorf's group. In '97, he braved Brooklyn to make this fine trio date. The easiest way to sum up Degen's style is a cross between early-to-mid-'70s Bill Evans with late 60's / early '70s McCoy Tyner: full-bodied, two-handed sound and consistently lyrical without ever being predictable. He's at his most Evans-esque on "Ode to Sammy Davis Jr." and recalls Herbie Nichols on "Round Trip". Formanek rules, playing Scott Lafaro to Degen's Evans (though neither are mere knock-offs).