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Duke Robillard and Herb Ellis: More Conversations in Swing Guitar

Dan McClenaghan By

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On the surface, the pairing of these two guitarists from different generations might seem an odd match. Duke Robillard is the founder of Roomful of Blues, has played with Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Big Joe Turner, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Bob Dylan. Herb Ellis, the elder half of this duo, has played with everyone from Louis Armstrong to Oscar Peterson, from Billie Holiday to Ella Fitzgerald. But from the very opening notes of More Conversations in Swing Guitar (the follow-up to '99s Conversation in Swing Guitar ), it's obvious that the two string men are musically very simpatico.

Though Robillard is more versed in the blues, he can swing, with the best of them, as the opener, "Moten Swing," attests. The guitarists are featured on separate stereo channels, which gives the listener (especially on headphones) the opportunity to hear the contrast in "conversational" styles—Robillard's fuller and more blues tinges; Ellis's tangy and looser, swinging just a bit freer than his younger counterpart.

The set is full of relaxed grooves, swinging easy, with superb accompaniment of Terry Homes on rhythm guitar, Marty Ballou on bass and Marty Richards on drums. A classy set of sounds that has that effortless feel only a group of consumate musicians can create. An essential disc for fans of swing guitar.

Track Listing: Moten Swing, Train to Texas, Robin's Nest, Just You and Me, Blues for Terry, End of Session Jump

Personnel: Duke Robillard, guitar; Herb Ellis, guitar,; Terry Holmes, rhythm guitar; Marty Ballou, bass; Marty Richards, drums

Title: More Conversations In Swing Guitar | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Stony Plain Records

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