Roomful of Blues Tenor/Guitarist/Vocalist pays his respects to his saxophone influences in a strutting collection of blues, ballads, and show tunes.
I love the kind of piano the late Gene Harris played. Steeped deeply in the blues idiom, he almost should not be classified as a jazz pianist. His playing is soulful, funky, and rocking. It is high art when art is having fun. So with Greg Piccolo. Long time tenorist with A Roomful of Blues, Piccolo has occasionally stepped out of that horn section and cut some solo projects. Mr. Piccolo released his first solo effort on Blacktop in 1990, the popular Heavy Juice. He followed this with Acid Blue (Fantasy 9673) in 1995 and Red Lights (Fantasy 9676) in 1997. He steps out in 2001 with a tribute disc to his favorite tenor saxophonists.
Who was Piccolo listening to when he grew up? Ben Webster, Illinois Jacquet, Red Prysock, Gene Ammons, Clifford Scott, Eddie Lockjaw Davis, Lester Young, and Joe Houston. With this bunch, the listener might expect a good deal of bar walkin' honkin' and squealin'. Well, there is a good bit, but it is some of the most tasteful and tasty R&B tenor playing to be recorded in sometime. Piccolo pick songs associated with his influences and he and his quartet undertook to remain as artistically faithful to the original recordings and arrangements as possible. The effect is most cool and stunning. Piccolo starts off pretty cool with Illinois Jacquet's " Illinois Blows The Blues" and Red Prysock's "Soft". He then sneaks in Cole Porter's "Night and Day" before revisiting Illinois Jacquet with "You Left Me Alone." The rest of the disc is red hot. Joe Houston's "Blow Joe Blow" and Clifford Scott's take on Lucky Millander's " Ram-Bunk-Shus" absolute rock. This is music that will make the listener consume ten pints of beer and duck-walk on the bar. This disc is a must for trur tenor R&B fans.
Personnel: Greg Piccolo: Tenor Saxophone, Guitar; Reese Wynans: Piano, Organ; Marty Ballou; Bob Ruggiero: Drums; Jeffery Cashen: Acoustic Guitar.