EDMONTON, AB – Stony Plain Records announces May 13 release dates for two new CDs: A Swingin’ Session with Duke Robillard, from the multi-Grammy-nominated guitarist; and Get Way Back: A Tribute to Percy Mayfield, from acclaimed guitarist Amos Garrett.
A four-time Blues Award winner as “Best Guitarist,” Duke Robillard once again rises to the occasion with another album exploring the roots and connections between blues and jazz with the appropriately titled A Swingin’ Session.
“For me, there is a very thin line between what was originally called jazz and the blues,” says Robillard in the album liner notes. “All the early jazz and big band players were adept and often great at playing the blues … guys like Ben Webster, Lester Young, Louis Armstrong, Jack Teagarden, Johnny Hodges and Count Basie … Charlie Parker was a great blues player.”
A Swingin’ Session with Duke Robillard explores the great American songbook of jazz classics like “Deed I Do,” “The Song is Ended,” “Them That Got” and “When Your Lover Has Gone,” but leaves plenty of room Duke to stretch out with the band on such movers as “Meet Me at No Special Place,” “They Raided the Joint” and “Swingin’ with Lucy Mae.”
Once again, Duke is backed by the impeccable group of musicians who’ve recorded with him many times before: drummer Mark Teixeira, bassist Marty Ballou, keyboardist Bruce Katz and sax player Gordon Beadle. With the addition of several former mates from Roomful of Blues, such as Al Basile on cornet, Doug James on baritone sax and Carl Querfurth on trombone, plus special guest Scott Hamilton on tenor sax, the recipe for A Swingin’ Session is complete.
Robillard and Hamilton have been playing music together for many years and the latter’s presence on the new CD was an easy choice for Duke. “Scott adds an element of swinging elegance that balances everything out perfectly for me,” says Duke.
For legendary guitarist Amos Garrett, the decision to record Get Way Back: A Tribute to Percy Mayfield was also an easy one. “I’ve wanted to make this album for some time,” says Garrett. “And make it as a tribute to a man who became my primary influence as a singer, even though his legacy is as a songwriter. And possibly as the greatest R&B songwriter from 1947 to well into the ‘60s,” he adds.
Percy Mayfield, whose songs have been recorded by such R&B, blues and jazz giants as Ray Charles, B.B. King, Etta James, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Junior Parker, Amos Milburn, Mose Allison and Jimmy Witherspoon, was called “The Poet Laureate of the Blues” for his imaginative and poignant, yet accessible compositions.
Get Way Back: A Tribute to Percy Mayfield was produced by Amos Garrett and features a number of musicians who’ve played with him over the years, including keyboardist Ron Casat, sax player Dave Babcock, trumpet player Alistair Elliott, drummer Bucky Berger and bassist Victor Bateman.
Garrett’s vocal style and phrasing are a perfect match for such well-known Mayfield tunes as “My Jug and I,” “Stranger in My Own Hometown,” “Never Say Naw,” “The River’s Invitation” and the title track, among others. He did not include two of Mayfield’s most-covered songs, “Hit the Road, Jack,” and “Please Send Me Someone to Love,” noting with his typically laid back, dry sense of humor, “Well, those songs have been sung before.”
Born in Detroit but raised in Canada, Amos Garrett first came to prominence in the 1970s as an in-demand session guitarist, recording with Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, Elvin Bishop, Anne Murray and Jesse Winchester, among others. He will forever be remembered for his signature guitar work on Maria Muldaur’s “Midnight At the Oasis.”
Garrett also worked as a band member in Ian & Sylvia’s Great Speckled Bird and Paul Butterfield’s Better Days and toured with Maria Muldaur as her band leader.
From the first notes of Get Way Back: A Tribute to Percy Mayfield, with his distinctive guitar tone and laconic vocal style, Amos Garrett stamps this new CD as something extraordinary. As he says in the liner notes, “Percy’s songs, when I discovered them in the early ‘70s, really set my direction. Sharing these songs is very special to me.”
For more information, visit www.dukerobillard.com, www.melmusic.com/amos_garrett