brought to you by
Blues On Stage
The Blues Foundation's 1999 "Keeping the Blues Alive Award"|
Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame 2009 "Supportive of the Blues"
(Yellow Dog, 2005)
Review Date: Oct 2009
by Norman Darwen
There is a very small and select band of artists who appeal to both jazz and blues lovers equally and who manage to tread the tightrope between the two genres with more than a little success. Guitarist Calvin Newborn is one of these. He is from a prominent Memphis musical family; his father was a drummer with Jimmie Lunceford and later became leader of a band in West Memphis that contained his sons, Phineas Newborn Jr. on piano and Calvin on guitar. A few years earlier the brothers had both played piano but Calvin hardly got a look in thanks to his older sibling's talent – so a family friend called BB King helped Calvin pick a guitar. Later a white guy called Elvis picked up a few pointers from Calvin to improve his own playing.
Out of the eight songs on this CD, five qualify as out-and-out jazz pieces, immaculately played by eight musicians including some very notable contributions from the fellow Memphis veteran Herman Green on sax and flute. These tracks are cool and hip, the kind of thing to get your head nodding and toes tapping in an upmarket jazz club. The other three titles all have the word “blues” in their titles, and deservedly so. 'Newborn Blues' is a cool, jazz-inflected number that contains some playing by Calvin that is certainly derived from BB King, whilst 'After Hours Blues' is an eight minutes long original with Calvin's playing straight out of the T-Bone Walker bag on this slow number; there is a nice, strong, old-fashioned back-beat from drummer Renardo Ward on this one as well. The CD closer, 'Blues & Beyond' is self-descriptive – rather more 'beyond' than 'blues' perhaps but still with plenty of blues-based guitar playing from Calvin.
To sum up then, you have to like a hefty dose of jazz to go for this – but if that's you, then do seek out this classy release.
"This review is copyright © by the writer and Blues On Stage: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without permission."
Copyright reuse notice: If you would like to reprint or use this review please include the above copyright notice, contained within the quotation marks, PLUS this statement: "Used with permission." Then send an email to Ray at: email@example.com indicating how you are using the review or the website page address it will be appearing on. Thanks!
Buy this CD NOW:
Your purchase through the Amazon.com links at the end of each review, or by simply clicking on the Amazon banner (below) to order this or many other products from Amazon, helps to support this website as well as the featured blues artist.
Click on this banner to get you new low percent credit card:
THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT! You can help support this blues website by making a contribution (click on the banner below for details).
Or mail a donation to: Ray Stiles % Blues On Stage, PO Box 582983, Mpls, MN 55458. Thanks!
Web Hosting & Design:
CLICK HERE for Web Design SPECIAL, get your own website for just $75.
The most affordable web hosting and design services available. Click Here
to find out how you can host your current site at Blues On Stage, or how I can help you design your own website!
If you would like your CD reviewed, please send TWO (2) copies of your CD to:
Blues On Stage
PO Box 582983
Minneapolis, MN 55458-2983
E-mail Ray Stiles with any questions.