You have to hand it to the former bassist of the “The Rolling Stones” for immersing himself into this comprehensive and meticulously annotated project that started with a 400-page book and two-hour film documentary. Bill Wyman’s Blues Odyssey is about those who furthered early American roots music. This production features a 24-page booklet filled with photographs and Wyman’s often-insightful observations and mini-bios on a per artist basis. Needless to state, Wyman’s offering serves as an admirable payback to a genre that seemingly provided him with good fortune.
Wyman traces the popularity of the Blues, hearkening back to folks such as vocalist, Mamie Smith and her 1926 recording, “Goin’ Crazy With The Blues.” Whereas, the great Bessie Smith’s 1927 recording of “Lock and Key” is included along with Wyman’s brief iteration of the legendary singer’s boozing and sexual inclinations. Furthermore, some of these musicians only cut anywhere from three to ten sides. For example did you know that guitarist; Blind Blake was a big star for the “Paramount” record label? Also featured are pieces by one of the few Bluesmen from the State of Montana; hence, the excellent yet under-recorded boogie woogie, pianist Montana Taylor who cut only four sides prior to World War II. Wyman also gives us a glimpse of relatively obscure musicians: Frankie “Half-Pint” Jackson, Texan, Rob Cooper and many others. However, the auteur traces the lineage in chronological order while consummating the set with some of the early works of B.B King, Elmore James, Joe Turner, Muddy Waters and many more. Overall, Blues Odyssey is an important document and should be considered a must-have for the astute observer of the Blues, while this release also looms as a significant educational tome. Recommended.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.