Arizona Club Music 2014
12 tracks; 59 minutes.
Jimmy McIntosh is based in Las Vegas and has just released his second CD on his own label, named after the saloon that his grandfather built in Las Vegas in 1905, one of the first structures in the city. The CD is entirely instrumental and very guitar-dominated as Jimmy is joined on the album by fellow axemen Ron Wood (Rolling Stones), John Scofield and Mike Stern, the latter two both regulars on the Las Vegas scene. Drums are played throughout by Toss Panos who also produced the album at his North Hollywood studio, keys are by Ivan Neville, bass duties are split between John Humphrey, Keith Hubacher and Dan Lutz and Albert Wing adds sax to two cuts. Jimmy wrote most of the material with Ron Wood chipping in with one song from his own repertoire plus two short jams; there are three covers. The style ranges across blues, jazz and funk.
The CD is bookended by two jam duets between Jimmy and Ron, both credited to Ron. The opener is “Slow Blues”, the closer “Fast Blues”, both living up to the titles quite well. “I Gotta See” is a gospel-tinged tune from Ron’s last album with saxophonist Albert Wing featured alongside Jimmy and Ron on guitar. The sax makes a pleasant change from the all guitar line-up and Albert plays strongly here, Ron providing a solid solo towards the end of the track. “Demon” is taken from Keith Richard’s 1992 “Main Offender” album and again features Albert’s sax in quieter mode on a slower tune with Jimmy finding some nicely plucked notes. Jimmy’s family were friends with Duke Ellington (who gave Jimmy his first musical instrument – a French horn) and Jimmy gives us a delicate solo acoustic version of “Sophisticated Lady”; a funky trio version of Robert Johnson’s “32-20 Blues” is the other cover and the track here that is most clearly a straight blues.
The original material is where the other two guitarists are featured and tend towards a jazzier style: “Back To Cali” is a good example with Mike Stern’s angular runs set against a muscular rhythm section approach. “PM Blues” also features Mike on a lengthy piece that rather meanders in jazz style with more fast fingering from Mike.
John Scofield appears on “Letsco” which has a bit of a New Orleans groove courtesy of Ivan’s organ, John producing some distorted guitar bends. “Lavona’s Boogie”, named for Jimmy’s mother, also features John with Ivan switching to piano for a lively little tune on which the two guitarists play well off each other. The two other tunes find Jimmy only on guitar: “The Logue” is a funk-based number with Ivan’s organ set against Jimmy’s guitar; “JuJu” is a trio performance, a slow number with a lot of echo and distortion on the guitar.
There is no doubting the quality of the players involved here but the blues content is not particularly high. Those who enjoy the jazzier style of players like Mike Stern and John Scofield will enjoy their contributions and will find that Jimmy McIntosh is something of a kindred spirit.