Anthony Geraci – Daydreams in Blue
Shining Stone Records
CD: 12 Songs, 48 Minutes
Styles: Piano Blues, Jazz-and-Soul-Influenced Blues
Within the blues, different primary instruments produce different moods and effects in listeners. Electric guitar blues jolts you, makes you want to get down or zone out during Hendrix-type solos. Horn blues? Jovial, but not in a barroom sense. More like a New-Orleans-block-party sense. Piano blues is crisp and cool, like autumn, unless a high-tempo, hundred-degree boogie heats things up. Anthony Geraci has been a master of this last type of blues for nearly forty years. Not only does he know his way around eighty-eight keys, but his neighborly stage presence makes everyone feel at home. On his new album Daydreams in Blue, he presents ten originals and two covers (“Dead Man’s Shoes” and “Jelly, Jelly”). It may not be the most groundbreaking or avant-garde piano blues CD you’ll ever hear, but that’s not Mr. Geraci’s forte. He knows that old-school is the best school.
Anthony Geraci was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1954. His interest in playing piano began at age four when he told his parents “I want a piano!” Kind of an odd request when most kids want a new baseball glove or bicycle. His parents weren’t musical – not even a record player at their house – but they always supported their son’s undeniable passion for music. They soon bought a Kimball Grand Piano that his mother paid 4 dollars a week to own. Lessons at the Neighborhood School of Music, affiliated with Yale University, soon followed. Since then, Geraci has had a long and storied career, including playing piano with Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Otis Rush, Chuck Berry, Big Mama Thornton, Big Joe Turner, and Jimmy Rodgers.
Performing alongside Geraci (piano, vocals on track six) are Dennis Brennan on vocals and harmonica; Monster Mike Welch on guitar; Walter Trout on lead guitar for track three; Michael Mudcat Ward on acoustic bass; Troy Gonyea on guitar; Jeff Armstrong on drums; Peter Ward on rhythm guitar for track three; Scott Arruda on trumpet and principal arrangement, and Mark Early on tenor and baritone saxophone.
“Love Changes Everything” is a lighthearted ode to everyone’s favorite emotion, beginning the album with a jazzy feel-good atmosphere. “Tomorrow May Never Come” propels audiences back to the 1950’s, where this tune would have found its way to the jukebox had it been around. It has a slow-dance shuffle beat and a horn section that’ll knock your bobby socks off. Better put them back on for the next track, “No One Hears My Prayers,” featuring Walter Trout on outstandingly ominous guitar. “Sometimes I wonder what you’re looking for,” Geraci says to his errant inamorata. “I thought you loved me, but it seems you changed your mind.” Even the Almighty has fallen silent: “I don’t pray anymore. No one hears my prayers.” If yours truly were to pick a #1 song on the album, this is it. Further down the line come “Mister,” a callout to several sorts of strangers, a la “Dude, Where’s My Gal?” No piano blues album is complete without at least one boogie, and “Tutti Frutti Booty” amply fits the bill. Another super number is “Dead Man’s Shoes.” Although it’s a cover, it’s not universally known, though it asks a powerful question. “What kind of man would wear these shoes?”
Lose yourself in Daydreams in Blue if you love piano blues!