Sax Gordon appropriately fuses blues and jazz on Have Horn Will Travel, his terrific debut release for the newly renamed Bullseye Blues and Jazz label. This is an ultra-fine release from a talented saxman with a great sense of humor and an even better sense of swing.
The 32-year-old Gordon, aka Gordon Beadle, honed his powerful tenor-sax sound while playing with Duke Robillard, Champion Jack Dupree, Charles Brown, Ron Levy and Roomful of Blues. On Have Horn Will Travel, the Californian mixes some wild sax honkers and jazzy swingers. These songs were influenced and a few were written by Arnett Cobb, Bill Doggett, King Curtis, Louis Jordan and Gene Ammons.
Gordon is backed by Robillard and his band, and also by the old horn section from Roomful of Blues. ROB recently underwent a major personnel shakeup, so this may be the last time we hear from one of the baddest blues horn sections in history.
Have Horn Will Travel is all Gordon's show, and it's a very entertaining one at that. Those who enjoy the comic jump-jazz of Louis Jordan or the sax-driven soul of Junior Walker will appreciate it most. Gordon is a tireless blower, and backed by Robillard (guitar), Tom West (piano and organ), Marty Ballou (bass) and Marty Richards (drums), he generates some riotous swinging sounds.
Highlights include a remake of the old Jackie Gleason theme "Melancholy Serenade," a raunchy blues workout called "Waterbed Lou," and "But Officer," a Louis Jordanesque number about a guy who has too many run-ins with the law. Gordon also shows impressive jazz chops on Bill Doggett's "Squashy," Ike Quebec's "Heavy Soul," and the swinging "Hallelujah."
Have Horn Will Travel is a hard-blowin', heavy-swingin' good time that should satisfy blues afficiandos, new swing revivalists and jazz fans alike.