Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne review…April 24, 2014…

KENNY “BLUES BOSS” WAYNE

ROLLIN WITH THE BLUES BOSS

STONY PLAIN RECORDS   SPCD  1371

LEAVIN’ IN THE MORNIN’–YOU BRING THE JUNGLE OUT IN ME–HOOTENANNY BOOGIE-WOOGIE–ROADRUNNER–BABY, IT AIN’T YOU (WITH DIUNNA GREENLEAF)–I CAN’T BELIEVE IT–TWO SIDES (WITH ERIC BIBB)–SLOW DOWN–OGOPOGO BOOGIE–KEEP ON ROCKIN’–OUT LIKE A BULLET

Pianist Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne was born in Spokane, WA, but soon moved with his family to Los Angeles, San Fran, and, later, New Orleans.  He was a child prodigy on the piano, and his father, a minister, aimed him in the direction of gospel music, but an uncle introduced him to the lure of boogie-woogie piano.  For us blues fans, it was a fortunate move, as Kenny has just released his latest album for Stony Plain, “Rollin’ With The Blues Boss.”

Moving for good in the early 1980’s, Kenny has called Kelowna, British Columbia, his home for the last several years.  He’s never lost his drive or his passion to keep the piano as a vital instrument in blues, just as it was a seminal part of the days when rock was young.

This set is comprised of eleven of Kenny’s originals, all centered around his left-hand-heavy boogie beat, and features two very special guests.  The set starts with Kenny on both acoustic and electric piano on the story of a man gettin’ while the gettin’s good, “Leavin’ In The Mornin!”  A strong percussive backdrop plus Kenny’s Fender Rhodes and Hammond organ work propel “You Bring Out The Jungle In Me,” where his lover has him “feelin’ like Tarzan, swingin’ from tree to tree!!”

The special guests make excellent contributions, too.  Kenny is the scorned lover in a very soulful, minor-key duet with Diunna Greenleaf, who tells him plainly what she’s after, and, “Baby, It Ain’t You!”  And, Eric Bibb has the vocal and an acoustic guitar solo on the swingin’ tale of a woman with some serious split-personality issues, “Two Sides.”

We had two favorites, too.  The “Ogopogo Boogie” utilizes a horn section to drive the melody as Kenny keeps the N’Awlins groove locked in.  And, “Keep On Rockin” is a testimony not only to Kenny’s longevity on the scene, but his indomitable spirit to keep the piano prevalent in the blues.

Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne has the total package—insane piano chops, a great vocal delivery, excellent composing skills and a killer stage presence.  “Rollin’ With The Blues Boss” is another fine testament to his myriad of  talents!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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