Sue Palmer: Boogie Woogie and Motel Swing
Palmer has clipped the crazy beehive hairdo she sported with the Kane Band, but her keyboard skills remain intact. With her powerful left-handed bass lines and tricky right-handed rolls, Palmer dazzles on several eight-to-the bar originals and a Meade Lux Lewis cover ("Honky Tonk Train"). Her composing skills also impress, particularly on her irresistible tribute to Duke Ellington, "Blue and Tan." Besides Palmer's piano, "Blue and Tan" features a growly three-piece horn section and sliding vocal chorus. Equally good are "Swango," an instrumental that deftly combines swing and tango, and "Do Lord, Do Remember Me," a traditional gospel number given a boogie treatment with two vocalists. Palmer also displays a knack for slow, sultry blues on her own "Blue Motel" and a sublime version of the standard "After Hours." With sax, clarinet and trombone, Duke Ellington’s "Black Beauty" is delivered with class and sass. And Romy Kane does a nice vocal turn on "Just For A Thrill," a sexy song written by Lil Hardin Armstrong (Louis Armstrong’s first wife and pianist).
Boogie Woogie and Motel Swing is the best piano-led blues CD I've heard since David Maxwell's Maximum Blues Piano (1997). It may just place Sue Palmer on the same high plane as her fellow ivory-ticklers Maxwell, Honey Piazza and Pinetop Perkins, the best in the blues biz today.
Track Listing: Room Service Boogie; Blue Motel; Down the Road a Piece; Blue and Tan; Beehive; Do Lord, Do Remember Me; Black Beauty; Sue's Boogie; Just for a Thrill; Honky Tonk Train; No Vacancy; After Hours
Personnel: Sue Palmer (piano); Sharon Shufelt (drums, vocals); Rob Thorsen, Steve Geller (bass); Jonny Viau (sax, vocals); Steve Wilcox (guitar); April West (trombone, vocals); Marie Pope (vocals) Robbie Smith (trumpet);. Eric Hybertsen (clarinet, sax); Romy Kaye (vocals); Tyler Buckley (percussion)
Record Label: Motel Swing Music