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Calvin Newborn: New Born (2005)

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Calvin Newborn: New Born How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

As the younger brother of gifted pianist Phineas Newborn, Jr., guitarist Calvin Newborn fell in love a long time ago with the same music and came to express it with his own voice. Jazz and blues run side by side in his interpretations.

A lyrical guitarist who takes the room by the force of his emotions, Newborn pours it on with New Born. His guitar sings passionately with statements about life and love and the way we feel about it. The horns which support the band don't help much, as they offer tired refrains and stale R&B clichés. Both piano and organ lend a healthy voice to the mix, while bass and drums provide a magnetic rhythmic foundation.

Newborn's guitar remains the album's centerpiece, tossing off emotional statements one after another. "Lush Life" opens with solo guitar in a beautiful panorama that contains the stuff dreams are made of. As piano, bass, and drums join him later, the piece continues to soothe and groove gently. You can almost feel the song's lyrics telling you that "Life is lonely again" and that "Only last year everything seemed so sure." The blues comes in many forms. Newborn expresses this message vividly and with heartfelt concern.

"After Hours Blues" and "Newborn Blues" are the album's greatest assets, as the guitarist stretches out with his quartet (with organ, bass, and drums) on a ride through Everytown in the wee small hours of the morning. It's time to sit back, forget about cryin' in your beer any more, and just enjoy Newborn's inspiring romp through jazz and blues history.

Track Listing: When Kingdom Comes/Sho' Nuff; The Streetwalker's Stroll; Newborn Blues; Spirit Trane/Omnifarious; Lush Life; Restorations; After Hours Blues; Blues & Beyond.

Personnel: Calvin Newborn- guitar; Donald Brown- piano; Charlie Wood- organ; London Branch- bass; Renardo Ward- drums; Herman Green- tenor saxophone, flute; Scott Thompson- trumpet; Ekpe Obitoto- congas.

Record Label: Yellow Dog Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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