Jeff Healey review…July 16, 2015…

JEFF HEALEY

VINTAGE JAZZ, SWING, AND BLUES

THE BEST OF THE STONY PLAIN YEARS

STONY PLAIN CD  SPCD  1380

THREE LITTLE WORDS–THE WILD CAT–STARDUST–SHEIK OF ARABY–GUITAR DUET STOMP–SING YOU SINNERS–I WOULD DO ANYTHING FOR YOU–PARDON MY SOUTHERN ACCENT–SOME OF THESE DAYS–MY HONEY’S LOVIN’ ARMS–HONG KONG BLUES–SWEET GEORGIA BROWN

Jeff Healey was one of the most talented, innovative guitar players we’ve ever had the privilege of hearing.  His album, “Mess Of Blues,” won the Blues Award for Best Blues-Rock Album in 2009, and rightfully so.  Jeff also had a jazzier side that brought out his passion for vintage jazz and swing, which led Holger Petersen of Stony Plain Records to record four jazz sets and a live DVD with The Jazz Wizards.  As such, Jeff’s “The Best Of The Stony Plain Years” chronicles this period in Jeff’s career with twelve cuts that recall the Jazz Age of the 1920’s and 1930’s.

Fluid on guitar, which he played across his lap, and trumpet, many of these cuts have a “Hot Club” feel, from the halcyon days of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, especially with jazz violin from Drew Jurecka on cuts such as the “Sheik Of Araby,” with humorous asides from the other bandmates, with washboard courtesy of Gary Scriven.

Jeff’s trumpet skills are on display on the lively “Some Of These Days,” and a rousing “Sing You Sinners.”  Jeff breaks out his electric guitar on “I Would Do Anything For You,” and dusts off a Johnny Mercer nugget with the ragtime feel of “Pardon My Southern Accent.”

We had three favorites, too.  Jeff and Drew capture that Hot Club spirit on the sprightly guitar-and-violin instrumental, “The Wild Cat.”  Jeff hits those unique Far Eastern notes that comprise Hoagy Carmichael’s “Hong Kong Blues” perfectly, and closes the set with a rousing, eight-minute “Sweet Georgia Brown!”  This cut was previously released on a promo-only CD sampler, and is a real treat!

Jeff Healey left us all too soon in 2008, but his music and legacy will live on forever.  If you were not familiar with Jeff’s penchant for jazz, by all means check out “Vintage Jazz, Swing, And Blues: The Best Of The Stony Plain Years!”   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

 

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