Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.

I want to help

Zora Young: Sunnyland

John Barron By

Sign in to view read count
Zora Young: Sunnyland Sunnyland is a straight-up blues release from Chicago vocalist Zora Young. With the help of guitar legend Hubert Sumlin and saxophonist/producer Sam Burckhardt, the veteran Young, who has previously recorded for Delmark Records, pays tribute to the late pianist Albert Luandrew, a.k.a Sunnyland Slim (1907-1995).

Both Sumlin and Young worked with Sunnyland, as well as Burckhardt, bassist Bob Stroger and guitarist Steve Freund. The spirit of Sunnyland is felt through two of the pianist's classic tunes, "Goin' Back to Memphis" and "Johnson Machine Gun." Pianist Barrelhouse Chuck, who studied with Sunnyland in the 1980s, is a torch bearer for the rich legacy of Chicago blues piano. His romping solos, especially on instrumentals like the jumping title track and the minor-keyed "Blues for Hubert," keep the party rolling in high gear.

Young is a bona fide blues shouter through and through; her delivery is authoritative, swinging and undeniably down home. Tunes such as "Bad Track Record," "Football Widow," "Stumbling Blocks and Stepping Stones" and "Til the Fat Lady Sings" showcase the Mississippi native's songwriting ability. Her lyrics are clever, honest and at times quite humorous.

Sumlin, who is perhaps best known for his Chess Records sideman work with Howlin' Wolf, contributes a handful of free-spirited solos and lends his cozy vocalizing to his own "You Said You Were Leaving" and "Looka Here Baby," a touching duet with Young that closes the session.

Guitarist Freund, a veteran of the Chicago and San Francisco blues scenes, delivers plenty of tasteful, reverb-heavy licks, most notably on "Goin' Back to Memphis" and "the rocked-out "Daughter of a Son-of-a-Gun."

Bruckhardt's solid arranging and the added horns of trumpeter Chuck Parrish and trombonist Steve Horne help make Sunnyland a first-class tribute to one of the great pioneers of urban blues.

Track Listing: Bad Track Record; Goin' Back to Memphis; Travelin' Light; Hubert's Groove; Football Widow; You Said You Were Leaving; Sunnyland; Johnson Machine Gun; Stumbling Blocks and Stepping Stones; Til the Fat Lady Sings; Blues for Hubert; Daughter of a Son-of-a-Gun; Looka Here.

Personnel: Zora Young: vocals; Hubert Sumlin: guitar; Steve Freund: guitar; Sam Burckhardt: tenor saxophone: Bob Stroger: bass; Barrelhouse Chuck: piano; Kenny Smith: drums; Chuck Parrish: trumpet; Steve Horne: trombone.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Airway | Style: Blues


CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Friday Night
Friday Night
Self Produced
The French Connection
The French Connection
Delmark Records
B.B. King B.B. King
guitar, electric
Buddy Guy Buddy Guy
guitar, electric
Howlin' Wolf Howlin' Wolf
Etta James Etta James
Robert Cray Robert Cray
guitar, electric
Junior Wells Junior Wells
Otis Rush Otis Rush
guitar, electric
Koko Taylor Koko Taylor
Deborah Coleman Deborah Coleman
guitar, electric
Deitra Farr Deitra Farr

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus
Support our sponsor

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT  

New Service For Musicians!

Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with Premium Musician Profile.