Jay Douglas – Confession
Mega City Music
Born in Jamaica and raised from his teens in Toronto, Jay Douglas has had a long career in music. He had his first gig while in high school and was popular in the Caribbean nightclub scene in Toronto and Montreal the 60’s and 70’s. He’s toured the globe as a solo artist and is an award winning Canadian artist for his Reggae and other music that has influenced him over his long and successful career. Nearly 40 artists support Jay on this album that tells the story of his musical journey in the songs he’s chosen to sing. Doo Wop, blues, R&B, rock, jazz, and soul all get fine treatment by Douglas here.
He starts off with a bouncing and fun cover of “Surely I Love You” where he sings with authority and passion. Great backing here with some cool sax and more. “Don’t You Know?” follows, fine Chicago blues done right. Douglas and company do an admirable job with some nice backing vocals by Renee Rowe and a strong band. The guitar solo by James Anthony and the horn accompaniment are super. Slow blues is next with “Since I Met You Baby,” a sweet duet with Nana McLean and Danny B blowing harp. “I Love Toronto” is next, a cool jazz cut Jay wrote to pay tribute to his city. Guitar (Quincy Bullen) and horns again are excellent. A little Bobby Blue Bland follows, “You’ve Gotta Hurt Before You Heal.” Douglas gives his all as he soulfully belts hit one out. Jeremy Sean Hector contribute sweetly on guitar here as he does on three other cuts. “Confession Blues” is a Ray Charles tune originally one on the Down Beat label by The Maxin Trio with songwriter R.C. Robinson (Ray Charles) on piano and vocals. Here Douglas does it was guitar, bass, and organ accompaniment and he nails it.
“Take Off Your Shoes” follows, a slick slow blues that Douglas again pays homage to Bobby Bland on. Douglas sings with lots of feeling as he and the band deliver another fine performance. A mid tempo jump blues is next, “Three Times Seven Makes Twenty One.” A sweet tenor sax solo and trumpet solo with fine piano support help sell this one as a winner. June Garber joins Jay for a duet on “There’s Something On Your Mind,” a Big Jay McNeely cut. The two of them sing with emotion and do an outstanding job with equally superb backing. “Smokey Places” is an old Corsairs R&B Doo Wop tune that Douglas does with feeling and makes his own. He follows that with his own “Doo Wop Blues,” a jumping and swing cut with cool trumpet, sax, piano (to note, Eddie Bullen does a super job here and on all the keys throughout) and a deep bass groove. His own “Merry Christmas To You” is next, a big band swing tune with Douglas singing and the band jumping and jiving in support. He concludes with “Darling I’m Yours,” a Scarletts’ Doo Wop tune that’s fun and features all the great baritone and head voice vocals as part of the delivery. A fine ending to a fine album of tunes obviously delivered with deep respect and keen artistry.
I loved this album. Jay Douglas is a gem. He is a superb singer and entertainer and he’s filled this album with a lot of great music with almost forty artists playing and singing with him. I’m sorry I did not name each and every one of them for space reasons, but suffice it to say they all do a fantastic job as they and Jay give us ten wonderful covers and four songs of his own crafting. I really enjoyed this one because Douglas is a great singer (as are his supporting vocalists) and his bands are excellent. I recommend this one to anyone who wants to hear someone pay tribute to his musical roots in in a delightful and truly entertaining way!