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Houma, Louisiana native Tab Benoit has proven to be one of the most credible and enduring blues artists to emerge in the past 20 years. In the mini-blues revival that has slowly been gaining steam since the death of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Benoit stands alone in being the practitioner of gritty Creole swamp blues. His sound has been honed not by hours in the studio, but years on the road. His composition and performance reflect this fact.
Mr. Benoit began recording a bit over ten years ago with the Vanguard Releas Nice and Warm, which included the incendiary slow blues title track. He recorded four more discs for the label before moving to Telarc Blues in 1999. After two well received discs since then, Benoit joined forces with Jimmy Thackery for the 2002 Whiskey Store , where he and Thackery reprised "Nice and Warm."
Mr. Benoit has taken his regular touring group into The Big Easy Recording Studio (AKA Sea Saint Studios) for a set of loosely composed and arranged originals and blues standards. The Sea Saint Sessions is a refreshing take on the blues power trio. Benoit’s guitar is spare and raw and the studio people resisted the impulse to overproduce this recording. The results are immediate and real. The songs range from R&B ("Baby Blue") to standard 12-bar ("Monk’s Blues") to the straight zydeco ("Boat Launch Baby"). It is really the last of these that is the most revelatory. Without accordion and washboard support, this brand of zydeco is electric with excitement. Barry White plays a spankin’ Cajun beat. Benoit’s voice is refreshing as well, that Louisiana patois thick as gumbo. I for one would like to hear Mr. Benoit make an entire recording of zydeco!
It is rumored that Tab Benoit will rejoin Jimmy Thackery for Whiskey Store Live. This should be great fun.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.