Release will give listeners 'Shivers'
Reviewed March 2009
By New Guitar Summit
Stony Plain Music: 2008
To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.
Following up on their first release as a trio in 2004, Jay Geils, Duke Robillard and Gerry Beaudoin keep things simple by offering a stripped-down sound with acoustic bass, drums and guitars.
The only variations on this approach are two Mose Allison blues cuts that feature Randy Bachman (yep, the singer from Bachman-Turner Overdrive) singing soft, funky lyrics: "Your Mind is On Vacation" and "Everybody's Crying Mercy." The singing is fine, but someone should have unplugged Randy's guitar. "Vacation" is beautifully played as a swing blues by the other three, with a standout solo by Robillard, followed by Bachman's string-bending, out-of place scales that just don't work. While he also lends a hand on guitar for a few bars of Charlie Christian's "Shivers," no harm is done, as again on this quick instrumental the other axemen shine.
Those who are familiar with Geils from his salad days as the lead guitarist for the blues-rock powerhouse J. Geils Band are in for a treat. It is nearly forty years after the days of Peter Wolf and Magic Dick in that roof-raising band, and this guitarist is a virtuoso. He has been featured in other jazz releases, including "King of Strings" with Grammy-nominated jazz veteran Beaudoin, and his work here shows why. On "Jim Jam," "Honey Suckle Rose" and other cuts he matches the other two lick for lick.
Beaudoin, whose jazz credentials are impeccable, gives a couple of tunes a Django moment, notably Benny Goodman and Lionel Hampton's "Flying Home" and his own "Blue Sunset."
Robillard, who has a background as a bluesman and jazz player, is in his element and is the easiest of the three to recognize. It takes a few listens to be able to tell the soloists apart; they are all ace and on their best behavior; liner notes include a track-by-track solo guide.
Most of the tunes on "Shivers' are swing and bop style, and have a certain nostalgic quality as well as excellent musicianship. This is enjoyable, uncluttered music for anyone who enjoys good guitar playing by three masters of the instrument.
Review by Frank Kocher, a longtime San Diego resident, musician, music collector and frequent contributor to The San Diego Troubadour.