Guitarist Mike Williams CD LATE NIGHT WALK is a joy to listen to again and again. It starts off with a Texas-style shuffle called "Muck Rakin'", that features solos from various members of this great band - a sort of "musical band intro". From Williams' excellent lead guitar solos to the great organ and sax solos, LATE NIGHT WALK starts off with class and stays that way all the way through this highly entertaining
and well put together CD.
"Let's Talk About It" is a swingin' 50's style r&b/rock 'n' roll tune that moves along at breakneck speed, like a spirited Louis Jordan or Lionel Hampton number from decades gone by. Sugar Ray Norcia's fantastic vocals are groovin' 'n' swingin' it all the way! Go Man Go! Bruce Katz's piano solo on this one is out of this world good!
Just so you can catch your breath, the title tune "Late Night Walk" slows it right down with atmosphere, good taste, and lots of emotional appeal. Williams' meaningful guitar solos are perfectly complimented by the soulful solos by Katz on his Hammond B3 organ. Jim Gwin's discerning drumming provides just the right imaginative percussion to give this piece extra meaning. Williams searches his soul for just the right licks in his solos and plays them to perfection. The fullness of Katz's B3 provides body to the whole tune. David "Fathead" Newman's tenor sax soloing and backup on this tune in priceless! "Just Last Night" is an imaginative jazzy improv offering, with a little swing added in for good measure.
"Shining Bright" is a medium tempo swingin' ditty that again features Norcia's impeccable vocals, with lyrics that have a definite romantic theme to them. "The Voice of an Old Friend" is my favorite of all the tunes on this CD. It really shows what a great guitar player Williams is, with right-from-the-heart guitar soloing that transcends it's
earthly origins to take the listener to blues heaven. Katz's B3 soloing adds to this with beauty and good taste, perfectly complimenting Williams' guitar expertise. The beautiful atmosphere that comes from this tune can be left on repeat continuously without boredom. Williams' guitar playing is like the voice of an old friend - good to hear and
On "Lazy Boy" Katz plays his heart out on B3, followed by Newman's wildly spirited jazzy sax soloing. Williams' imaginative guitar soloing seems to talk to the listener, as does Danny Morris' fine bass solo. Gwin's short-but-sweet drum solos definitely talk back musically to the others' superb soloing. What a great musical conversation.
Norcia's vocals on "Got Me Once" are a real joy to listen to, as is Newman's tenor sax soloing. Williams' guitar soloing can really stir the heartstrings. Along with Gwin's percussion technique, this tune's upbeat nature and jazz harmonies makes it a real winner. The jazz/blues fusion here is perfection to say the least. "Laughing Through the
Tears" features Newman's excellent sax blowing, with fine backup by Katz's B3, giving it body. Williams' guitar licks are equally soft spoken and laid back, yet full of good taste and imagination. Katz's B3 soloing is soulful and full of meaning and purpose. Again, Gwin's drumming holds it all together with flair and good taste.
"Post Consumer Blues" is jazzy and full of atmosphere and personality. Newman's sax soloing is in fine form. The jazzy intricacies he creates are intelligently put together and allow the listener's taste to transcend to a higher level of appreciation and understanding of what good music is all about. Gwin's drumming is right-in-the-pocket, as are Williams' sweet guitar licks.
All in all, Mike Williams' LATE NIGHT WALK is a well-conceived CD from beginning to end. It offers tempos, moods and atmosphere that will appeal to any and all discerning listeners of fine blues and jazz idioms. The players are a who's who of the best, most imaginative around. The fact that they're all together on the same CD makes it a very special occasion every time it's played. That's the perfect reason to sit back, put your feet up, and take a late night walk with your musical imagination, as all the gifted artists did on this excellent CD.
Artist: Mike Williams (James Cotton's guitarist)
Title: LATE NIGHT WALK
Label: Blue Tempo Records # BTR 6601
CD's ordered from: www.bluetempo.com
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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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