In a relatively short time, Robert Randolph has become generally renowned as "the Hendrix of pedal steel guitar, expanding the instrument's vocabulary and approach beyond its familiar country/pop settings. He's in what must be a rather exclusive club of musicians who have guest-starred, upon request, with the Five Blind Boys of Alabama and with Ozzy Osbourne. "I'm trying to create a new field and a new style that'll influence some kids to go, 'Wow, I can be Black and be from the inner city and I don't have to be a rapper!' Randolph allows. "I look at Sly Stone, how he came in and just ripped the music industry apartI think music fans are ready for that again.
The stylistic mixture of Colorblind puts Randolph's music where his mouth is. "Deliver Me twitches off of rhythm guitar riffs and a staccato vocal that roar with all the punk-funk power of a Red Hot Chili Peppers hit. "Thrill of It moves toward the "black rock advocated by guitarists James Blood Ulmer and Vernon Reid in Living Colour. Put together, "Diane and "Thrill of It prove that the Family Band's rhythm section, bassist Danyel Morgan and drummer Marcus Randolph, play with the funkiest bottom this side of Christina Aguilera.
Co-written with Steve McEwan, songwriter of hits for country stars Faith Hill and Kenny Chesney, "Stronger features McEwan on acoustic guitar, Leela James on vocals, and this set's most familiar country/western use of Randolph's slide guitar.
His cover of the Doobie Brothers' running blues "Jesus is Just Alright in tandem with blues-rock guitar king Eric Clapton boils the lid completely off. Clapton's vocal in the "Jesus, He's my brother... bridge burns hoarse yet hot, and it's a tribute to Randolph's own playing that you cannot identify whose electric guitar is shooting off which sparks. If there was more music like this on Clapton's recent records, I'd have tried harder to stay awake and get all the way through more of them.
Track Listing: Aint Nothing Wrong With That; Deliver Me; Diane; Angels; Jesus is Just Alright; Stronger; Thrill of It; Blessed; Love is the Only Way; Thankful n Thoughtful; Homecoming.
Personnel: Robert Randolph: pedal steel, guitar, vocals; Danyel Morgan: bass, vocals; Jason Crosby: Hammond organ, piano, keyboards, vocals; Marcus Randolph: drums, vocals; Drew Ramsey: guitar, vocals; Shannon Sanders: keyboards, vocals; Shanna Crook: vocals; Lenesha Randolph: vocals; Leroi Moore: tenor saxophone; Rashawn Ross: trumpet; Mark Batson: drum programming, keyboards; Eric Clapton: guitar; Leela James: vocals; Dave Matthews: guitar, vocals; Steve McEwan: acoustic guitar.
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. After going through Rock 'n Roll, the Beatles and Heavy Metal/Hard Rock phases over the next eight or so years, I finally bought my first jazz album; We're All Together Again for the First Time by Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan. I was hooked on jazz, and still am 40+ years later.
I moved from England to the USA in 2002, and founded the Brookfield Jazz Society in 2005.
I became editor of the quarterly IAJRC Journalin 2012. The magazine goes to the worldwide membership of the IAJRC (International Association of Jazz Record Collectors) and many major libraries and educational establishments around the world.
As well as being the editor of the IAJRC Journal, I write about jazz and review CDs, vinyl, DVDs and books on jazz.
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