Robert Crayon the Unexpected

“IT’S FUN TO PLAY SOMETHING IN THE CONTEXT OF THE SONG—PAUSE FOR A SECOND—AND THEN hit a note that doesn’t seem to fit,” says blues stalwart Robert Cray. “I’m trying to take people somewhere with the song, and I’m taking myself there at the same time. It doesn’t have to go where you think it’s supposed to. I like that kind of stuff a lot, and I learned a lot about it from listening to musicians such as Thelonious Monk. You think you know where he’s going, but you don’t. It’s a trip. I’m always listening to the rest of the guys in my band and considering how my playing fits in sonically. Every once in a while something unexpected will pop into my head and I’ll think, ‘I just have to do that for a laugh.’”