Let's hear it for the straight-ahead, blues-drenched, Blue Note circa 1955 blowing session. Sometimes after feasting on the rich duck pate of ECM or the decadent foie gras of Winter & Winter, the listener just craves the black-eyed peas and collards simplicity of the blues. Let's also hear it for a full, round arch top guitar tone, each note audible, each chord distinct. That pretty well defines Thom Rotella and his guitar style.
Another facet of Rotella's guitar style is that he is fluent in the language of Wes Montgomery and he is not four bars into the opening "Who Dat?" before he starts throwing off those octave chords. However, Rotella does not belabor the point Llew Matthews two sporting piano choruses. Luther Hughes (yes, the same who played bass with Gene Harris in Three Sounds) stretches an elastic acoustic bass that walks effectively in step with veteran drummer Roy McCurdy.
Rotella provides seven of the ten selections on this disc, all with a keen blues sensibility. The previously mentioned opener and "Bluze 4 Youze" are tasteful, playful romps. Rotella's chordal comping behind Matthews is tasty and perfectly placed in pitch and tempo. Of the three standards on the recording, "My Foolish Heart" is played the straightest and "The Way You Look Tonight" the most abstractly. In fact, this latter interpretation is one of the boldest to be carried off so well.
So let's hear it for the meat and potatoes of jazz, the blues, played with just enough virtuosity to support it and not get in the way. Thom Rotella has been around and proves with "Out of the Blues why he has the staying power.
Who Dat?; Bluze 4 Youze; My Foolish Heart; The Dr. Is In; Never Say Goodbye; The Way You Look Tonight; All
Ways; I Hear a Rhapsody; Shimmer; Be Here Now.
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.