Guitarist, Jack de Keyzer's incredible new CD, 6 String Lover, is a true
joy to listen to, and a testimony to the fact that we have some very
fine talent in the local Toronto area. 6 String Lover runs the gamut
from up tempo Rock 'n' Roll to slow old Blues, James Brown inspired R&B
to Robert Johnson style Roots/Blues from the very beginnings of recorded
Blues music. Some might say there's too broad a range of music styles
for the CD to be pegged down as one thing or another. Others might ask,
"Where's the identity - musically, who is Jack de Keyzer?"
Well….from seeing Jack de Keyzer in concert at many gigs over a long
period of time, the musical identity of Jack de Keyzer is a
guitarist/singer/songwriter who's got impeccable taste in music, uses
this good taste to draw from the best musical influences of every era
and style - then with the class A talent which is his as a musician,
conveys the diversity of these musical influences to the public with
originality, conviction, and superb musicianship. The talent Jack picks
to be in his great band are also musicians of the highest calibre, who
choose the best influences coming their way to help them grow as
musicians, as well as being able to interpret those influences to get
the best out of each and every performance they take part in.
The musicians playing on 6 String Lover are a Who's Who of local talent,
some of whom have international recognition from other music endeavors
they've been involved in over the years. Complimenting Jack on guitar is
another guitar virtuoso, Peter Sabourin, better known as Sab, who
besides having his own great band, is lead guitarist for Ronnie Hawkins.
Alec Fraser, Jack's bassist, is also the owner of Liquid Sound Studio,
that recorded this fantastic CD. Alec is chief Engineer and Sound Mixer
on the CD, ably assisted by bassist, Shane Scott as Assistant Engineer.
Besides being a first-class bassist (upright and electric), Shane is
also a knowledgeable Sound Engineer, who owns Bass Line Studio, where
Jack's highly emotional harp player, David Rotundo recorded his own
rousing, award-nominated CD, Blowin' For Broke, recently, which has had
much critical acclaim. Shane is also David's upright bass player in his
own band, David Rotundo and the Blue Canadians. (How's that for music
connections who help each other out.) B3 master, Michael Fonfara of the
Downchild Blues Band (who was in Electric Flag and Lou Reed years ago),
goes wild on several tracks on Hammond B3 organ and electric piano. Tony
Ajo's energetic drumming is indispensable and right on cue, as is Perry
White's rousing sax. Talent like this can make any album a success.
The first cut, Deal Me In, deals the listener into this musical game
with a bang - but it's no gamble because the whole CD is a winner from
start to finish. Pleasure Is My Business, is the rebel rouser of the
bunch. The scorching leads played with wild abandon by Jack, along with
Mike's rousing B3 and Perry's equally scorching sax licks, is guaranteed
to have any dance floor hoppin', or any musician running for his guitar
to play along with it at home. (Air Guitar also works on this one!) If
Delta Blues slide is your bag, If You Were My Woman (And I Was Your Man)
is made to order. Jack's fantastic slide technique is complimented by
his nasal tone vocal styling, altered from his usual clear vocals, to
help create the mood of gators 'n' catfish. Michael's keys have a
feeling of Sunnyland Slim about them. King Of The Blues has a very B.B.
feel to it. Fonfara's B3 imaginatively replaces the fullness of B.B.'s
horn section. Jack's lead guitar intricacies are heard to great effect
Rock 'Til We Drop, rocks with the best of 'em. Rock 'n' Roll got it's
name from this kinda stuff. Sab's superb lead guitar soloing, along
with Jack's, is all any guitar aficionado could ask for. Two of the
best guitarists, in high gear, jammin' their ever lovin' guts out,
backed by Shane's big bad drivin' bass lines. There's almost more raw
energy here than can be contained -- guaranteed to bust the most passive
listener's soulful bonds loose. Jump Right To It says it all in the
title. The best in Up tempo Blues is in this winner, featuring fast,
spirited guitar licks by Jack, Mike's B3 and David's harp racing
alongside, as well as Tony's drum thing keeping it all in the groove.
Funk This, a de Keyzer original, admirably pays tribute to the genre
epitomized by it's innovator, the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. Funk
it, you'll dig it! Making Love To You, is a slow, romantic ballad, full
of good feelings and emotional yearnings.
Engine Trouble offers up the best slow Blues around. Jack's bluesy soul
cries forth from it's depths on guitar leads and vocals, backed with
equally bluesy sympathy by Sab's rhythm guitar complimenting the musical
mixture perfectly. Another "car" song, Drivin' Home rocks up the joint
the best it can be with infectious rhythms, rousing guitar leads, and
Jack's vocals "drivin' home" this winner all the way. The last tune
(unfortunate because we could do with 100 more) is Jack's tribute to the
Father of the Blues, Robert Johnson. The very rootsy and early guitar
stylings and vocals evocative of Mr. Johnson and his contemporaries are
exemplified in this de Keyzer original. This is the only solo cut - just
Jack himself, his acoustic guitar and lots of talent and conviction to
back him up on it. So well done, with sounds of scratches from an old
and often played B.B. King record added for realism, you wouldn't know
this title track wasn't done by a black guitarist of the early Blues
type, from a hitherto unknown and just discovered "lost" recording.
All the music Jack plays and writes is of the finest taste, imagination
and execution. His love of the 6 string instrument known as guitar, and
the magic it can create, shows itself best in able hands like his.
Lyrics like "my fingers slidin' down her back" on the title track,
describes the magical and sensuous nature of guitar music, coming from
an instrument with an hour-glass body, and a back (neck) that a hand can
slide up and down, tapping into it's musical "erogenous zones", bringing
the beauty of the "spiritual muse" to the ears of all the lucky
listeners who hear Jack's 6 String Lover sing her praises on his new CD.
This is also true anytime we're lucky enough to be witnessing live, the
genius that is Jack de Keyzer and his very special band.
Artist: Jack de Keyzer
CD: 6 String Lover
Label: Blue Star # CD 2503
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This review is copyright © 2003 by Joe Curtis, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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