Dylan James ‘Boogie Boy’ Shaw – Blues Piano Sessions
Self-Release – 2022
9 tracks; 33 minutes
Dylan James ‘Boogie Boy’ Shaw is just 14 years old but has been playing piano since he was 3 and has already achieved a lot in his short life. He comes from a musical family, has won competitions, earned scholarships, played with a who’s who of musicians, including Chuck Leavell, Bruce Katz and Bob Margolin and even has his own internet show where he encourages kids to get into music. This album gives us a taste of his precocious talents as he handles piano, Hammond B3 and vocals, supported by Jon Zoog on drums, Todd Parsons on guitar, Kevin Bailey on harmonica, Joyce Spencer on sax and his mother, Christine Winburn, on vocals. The album was recorded on home turf in Dallas, Texas, with Eric ‘Scorch’ Scortia (Omar & The Howlers) producing. There are no writing credits given, but one assumes that, apart from the obvious covers, the remaining material is original.
Half the tunes are instrumentals, starting with Dylan on the B3 with a great version of that classic of the Soul-Jazz repertoire, Bobby Timmons’ “Moanin’”; a second version appears at the end of the album with Christine on vocals. There are solo piano outings on “Pinetop Smith’s Boogie Woogie” (on which Dylan plays those rolling rhythms brilliantly, changing the pace well and showing us his great strength on the instrument), more boogie woogie with “Marie”, while Oscar Peterson’s “Hymn To Freedom” takes a more sedate road than the boogie tunes, bringing a gospel feel into Dylan’s playing.
Vocals are often a problem for very young performers and Dylan’s voice still needs to develop quite a bit, but, assisted by Christine’s harmony vocals, he carries off “Blues Mobile”, a catchy tune that tells us about his transport to gigs, harmonica also appearing on this one and the piano work excellent. “Rockin’ Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu” is paired with “Mardi Gras In New Orleans” on a solo piano piece which is played convincingly and Dylan tells us that “Blues Life Is My Life” as he is joined by sax; “Me And Chuck” is dedicated to Chuck Leavell and bounds along to a boogie beat. Dylan’s vocals on these tunes sound a bit distant and thin.
It is good to hear such a precocious talent on piano (and organ) and there is little doubt that Dylan will make it to the top as an instrumentalist.