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Blues For Next is the newly released two CD set by New York City downtown scene guitar god Elliott Sharp, as this recording bespeaks a bit of a diversion from the guitarist’s usual blend consisting of hard-core prog-rock/modern jazz and EFX based stylizations. On disc one, subtitled “Plus”, the guitarist utilizes the vocal talents of Eric Mingus and Dean Bowman while disc two signifies the “Quartet” and vocal-less part of the presentation.
Unfortunately, the bluesy proceedings on the first disc suffer from a lack of any noticeable chemistry as the vocalists seem to be going through the motions amid all the proper inflections, drawls and soulful banter atop Sharp’s fluent lines and spirited performances. Here, the music might come across as being somewhat tepid and strained as if the band had decided to make a blues-based recording sans any serious shedding or rehearsal time. However, disc two features some hard edged blowing by alto and baritone saxophonist Sam Furnace in accordance with Sharp’s gritty electric slide guitar work on pieces such as “Twistin” and “Rails”. With these compositions, Sharp wreaks havoc on his ax as he renders guitar madness via extended solos and shrewd injections of hybrid free-jazz/rock/blues statements atop steady four beats. Overall, Blues For Next boasts some good moments, although disc one is more or less uninspiring and represents the weaker of the two productions.
Personnel: Sam Cain; drums and electronic percussion: Sam Furnace; alto and baritone saxophones: David Hofstra; electric and acoustic basses: E#; electric guitars, console steel guitar, National steel guitar & tenor saxophone: Dean Bowman; vocals; (selected tracks): Eric Mingus; vocals (selected tracks): Hubert Sumlin; electric guitar (selected tracks).