January 1, 2005

C.C. Adcock

Lafayette Marquis

With his snarling, gritty guitar tones, swampy grooves, and scratchy vocals,C.C. Adcock makes butt-shakin' music that blends rockabilly, old-school Memphis R&, New Orleans funk, Cajun dancehall tunes, and juke-joint blues. He's young, but no poseur: Having paid dues with Bo Diddley and Buckwheat Zydeco, Adcock knows rootsy textures like the back of his hand. But despite the tremolo guitar and slapped upright bass, this isn't a retro-sounding record. Adcock and his various producers bring a hip sonic edge to the music that keeps the moods fresh and the vibe ominous. Doyle Bramhall joins Adcock on two songs, and together they raise 6-string hell. Boasting richly layered guitars and heaps of attitude, Adcock's music is soulful, somewhat twisted, and deeply satisfying. Yep Roc.

-Andy Ellis

The Sheryl Bailey 3


Chocolate and peanut butter, Martin and Lewis, B3 organ and guitarjust three examples of two great things that go great together. On her latest release, guitarist Sheryl Bailey exploits the B3/guitar pairing to stunning effect as her fattened bop lines careen in and out of organist Gary Versace's bubbling layers of Hammond B3. Bailey's playing, which is always lyrical and lush, with just the right amount of harmonic angularity and tangy dissonance, is bolstered by her beautifully burnished tone. Though thoroughly jazzbo approved, her sound displays a lovely, sinewy edge that allows the listener to glean every nook and cranny of her wonderful style. PureMusic.
-Darrin Fox

Various Artists

Christmas Gumbo

If you want your Christmas party to feel more like Mardi Gras, Christmas Gumbo-a compilation of spicy original Cajun carols performed by a who's who of the Bayou scene-is your ticket to the Big Easy. Sonny Landreth rips and slides with a sticky-sweet tone on "Got to Get You Under My Tree," while the Subdudes' Tommy Malone sings his soul out over a beautiful bed of acoustic guitar on "Peace in the World." Ex-Galactic frontman Theryl "Houseman" deClouet is bolstered by Funky Meters' guitarist Brian Stoltz's super-slinky, wah-drenched guitar lines on "Pimp My Sleigh"-a sizzling funk-fest of a track that feels as far away from "Silent Night" as New Orleans is from the North Pole. Flambeau.
-Jimmy Leslie

Damir Simic

Live in Zagreb

The possession of awesome technical firepower can be a blessing and a curse. The icky part is when one's ferocious chops lead the creative muse into spasms of bad shred clichés, meaningless note flurries, and dunderheaded compositions designed to spotlight said chops, rather than brighten the soul. On this brilliantly recorded live CD, Simic allows himself a few such missteps, but, overall, this is a technical master who fully comprehends melody, nuance, and dynamics. His sexy, liquid tone is a joy, and he picks each note so precisely that, even when his fingers are blurring at warp speeds, you can hear-and feel-every single note. I also dug Simic's well-choreographed wah punctuations on "Fly High," as he truly understands how to use that device to color a note with angst, beauty, power, or noise. Simic also gets that an evocative instrumental should move through different emotions and tonal landscapes. As a result, this fierce and sensitive player delivers a heavy guitar album that not only thumps your rump and bangs your head, it lifts your soul, as well. Guitart.
-Michael Molenda

Deep Blue Organ Trio

Deep Blue Bruise

If you dig the organ trio genre and the warm archtop tones of early George Benson, Pat Martino, Kenny Burrell, and Grant Green, you'll flip over Deep Blue Bruise. Whether the groove is moody, funky, or briskly swinging, guitarist Bobby Broom plays with a crisp, articulated attack and wraps his spiraling lines in timbres that glow like burnished copper. While still in his 20s, he toured with tenor colossus Sonny Rollins, and you can hear Newk's influence in the sheer length of Broom's lines. Not a lick player, Broom spins phrases that twist and turn across dozens of bars. He doesn't hesitate, he doesn't fumble-he just goes. Organist Chris Foreman (who pumps out fat walking bass on his B3 pedals) and drummer Greg Rockingham sound like a super-tight band in their own right, and the trio's repertoire includes killer remakes of Prince's "Raspberry Beret" and the Doors' "Light My Fire." Delmark.
-Andy Ellis


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