august 2008

guyBuddy Guy, SKIN DEEP
Don’t be misled about Skin Deep, Buddy Guy’s triumphant rebound from 2005’s uneven Bring ‘Em In, which found him giving a bit too much latitude to John Mayer and Carlos Santana, at the expense of his own artistry. The guests he brings in this time—and they are formidable, numbering Eric Clapton, Robert Randolph and the husband-and-wife team of Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi—contribute uniformly inspired performances, but the force of Guy’s performances insures that the spotlight properly stays on his work. Hitting with sledgehammer force every time he enters the scene, Guy delivers house wrecking blues of the first order, like he’d been smokin’ dynamite and drinkin’ TNT.

butlerHenry Butler, PiaNOLA LIVE
A true artifact of Hurricane Katrina, native New Orleanian Henry Butler's PiaNOLA Live is a collection of solo piano performances spanning a period of two decades, salvaged from Butler's tape archive, which miraculously survived the storm's near-total destruction of his home and possessions. Considering the timeframe, it's a remarkably seamless presentation, kudos going to Butler and his producer, George Winston (a pretty fair piano player himself) for their work in the flawless sonic assembly of these eleven numbers.

Heat on medium flame. Instructions for warming up soup? Perhaps so, but the directive also describes Kate McGarry's impressive new display of interpretive singing as captured on If Less Is More...Nothing Is Everything. On reflection, though, a soup analogy is eminently appropriate, when considering that this delectable comestible is redolent with the spice of exploration and rich in savory textures of voices and instruments playing off of, to and with each other in bursts of jazzy improvisation and dreamy flights of pop grandeur.

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