Welcome to the latest issue of Denis Poole’s Secret Garden, the page that offers a personal perspective on the very best from the world of smooth jazz and classic soul. Anyone who has been with Jeff Golub for the long haul will regard his latest CD, Blues For You, as a project that has just been waiting to happen. Indeed, functioning as he often does within the confines of contemporary jazz his music, especially in a live setting, can appear to be a paradox. Supercharged with the influences he garners from the best of rock and blues his playing is always totally from the heart and with Blues For You he is grabbing with both hands the opportunity to dig deeper into the blues and R & B roots that he holds so dear.
Blues For You was recorded over four days in New York’s Skyline Recording Studio and the ‘live feel’ that producer John Porter engenders serves to bestow the entire collection with a decidedly organic quality. Notable in this respect is ‘Goin On’ where a splash of hard driving sax provides a delightful counterpoint to Golub’s bluesy playing and his comfortable guitar style fits perfectly with the swaggeringly energetic ‘Shuffleboard’. It’s a track that is further energized by bursts of Hammond B3 and when J. Geils Band legend Peter Wolf lends his considerable vocal prowess to the ‘party ready’ ‘Rooster Blues’ the result is nothing short of sensational.
The use of guest vocalists is something of a departure for Golub but here it turns out to be a masterstroke. Mark Cohn enriches the tender but bluesy ‘I Don’t Worry About A Thing’ with his unmistakable gravelly tones while it is John Waite’s contribution that is the center piece of ‘Lost Mind’. Infectious in the extreme, ‘Everybody Wants You’ is infused with country tinged blues and magnificent vocals from Billy Squier. In fact it was Squier who back in the eighties recognized Golub’s potential by co-opting him into his live band. Golub ultimately played with Squier on three world tours and seven albums before going on to become a key member of Rod Stewart’s touring entourage.
An added facet of Blues For You is the picture perfect and subtle use of horns. The way in which they herald in the foot tapping ‘Nikki’s Walk’ feels like something right out of vintage Memphis and ‘Gone Fishin’ also demonstrates the impact that an understated horn section can have. Coupled with Golub’s wonderful playing it is a combination that serves to blend R & B with the blues in the most engaging of ways and this amalgamation is also to the fore with the even better ‘I’ll Play The Blues For You’. With a horn riff borrowed from Angie Stone’s classic ‘Brotha’ Golub’s wailing guitar drives this atmospheric stunner to a blues drenched conclusion and when he slips in a ‘bonus track’ the mid tempo ‘Ease E’ is taken to a different dimension by another infusion of smoky horns.
Of course one of Golub’s many attributes is the way his music can display genuine sensitivity. ‘Fish Face’ is a case in point where his sublimely tight phrasing offsets the urgency injected by Kenny White on keyboards and Shawn Pelton on drums. The overriding vibe proves to be both relaxed and appealing while this same aura is front, back and center of the superb ‘The Blink Of An Eye’. A real Secret Garden favorite, this turned down gem shimmers with the sheer emotion that is at the core of most things that Golub does.
Blues For You is Golub’s eighth solo album and will hit record stores across the USA on August 25. For more on Jeff Golub go to www.jeffgolub.com
Do you have any comments on what you have found in this edition of the Secret Garden? If so please e-mail me on DenisPoole2000@Yahoo.com.Posted by Denis Poole at July 30, 2009 9:42 PM