13 tracks/45 minutes
Born in Spokane, Washington, schooled and trained in New Orleans and now based in British Columbia, Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne flamboyantly jumps and bops through this fine new swing recording on Canada’s Stony Plain Records. Featuring the great Duke Robillard on guitar along with Russell Jackson on bass, Charlie Jacobson on guitar, Joey DiMarco on drums, Sherman Ducette on harp, and Dave Babcock on sax, this is a fine ensemble of players backing this great keyboard player and vocalist.
This is Kenny’s third outing on Stony Plain and his tenth overall recording. He has self produced this one and the last and he’s done a fine job with both of them. Duke Robillard adds a lot with his guitar work and the talents of all the musicians really shine brightly.
The album opens with “Blues Boss Shuffle,” a sweet instrumental where everyone gets a chance to impress the listener. Wayne’s piano, Babcock’s sax and Robillard’s guitar offer up well done solos. “Bankrupted Blues” follows, a tune about losing jobs, cars and homes. It’s a sign of the times and the band gives us a great performance. Robillard has an extended solo that was cool. “Jumpin’ & Boppin’ With Joy” is a high energy cut with frantic vocal that Wayne does a good job with. Robillard comes in for a swinging solo then Wayne takes over on the keys. “Blues Stew” slows things down and offers a bit of a respite. Wayne paces things out nicely as he let’s the piano take the lead in this more thoughtful cut.
“You Don’t Know Me,” the albums’ lone cover, is a fine slow blues with some great sax accompanying the vocals. This is very smooth and sultry stuff. “Blackmail Blues” is a swinging mid tempo piece with guitar, organ and piano up front leading the charge. Evenly paced, it’s an interesting number. The boys jump and jive with “Look Out! There’s A Train Coming.” Horns and keys trade licks and Robillard’s smooth guitar gives this one a fantastic feel. “I Need Your Lovin’” continues in that vein with the organ laying out a groove and a nice piano solo and later guitar solo to spice things up. “Ciao, Ciao Baby” slows things down a tad as Wayne sways though this one nicely on vocals. The saxes and guitar add a nice dimension again; Robillard offers a prolonged solo that was quite nice.
Slow blues return with “Back To Square One.” Thoughtful piano and guitar work well together to open this one. Wayne comes in on vocals and struts his stuff and then Robillard offers another keenly smooth solo. Harp opens “I’m Comin’ Home” and the band lays it on in this jump cut. The harp blows sweetly for it’s solo and maintains a steady groove throughout. “Rock, Rock Little Girl” features some big boogie woogie piano, sax and guitar in this rocking number. Kenny testifies to us in this 50’s style rocking jump blues with a rocking guitar solo. The CD closes with “Boogie To Gloryland,” a keen instrumental that Wayne drives from the piano bench. It’s a whirlwind ride up and down the 88 keys as he does an impressive job on this boogie tune.
This is a fine jump blues album with some great new songs. Wayne, Robillard and friends do a dynamite job and offer up some outstanding work on this album. The interplay and balance is sublime and fun. I thoroughly enjoyed this CD!