Blues Now, Jazz Later
A lot of really good guitar players have come out of the Fort Worth,
Texas area. If you're a serious blues fan, then you're already familiar
with many of the hot pickers from Cowtown.
Another one to add to that
list is James Hinkle.
Hinkle, who spent a number of years playing in Marcia Ball's band, has a
fine CD out called Blues Now, Jazz Later (Bluelights). It covers
a gamut of styles and gets stronger with each cut.
The number that will first pull your party guests on to the dance floor
is the up-tempo "Love From A Fool," with hot sax from Johnny Reno and
honky tonk piano from Robert Cadwallader.
"I Hear Stories" is a compelling, mid-tempo shuffle with a lot of swamp
water flowing through it. Hinkle isn't the best singer around, but he
gets his point across effectively. He also checks in with a smokin'
blues guitar solo midway through the tune.
The "jazz later" part of this disc comes out on the hot instrumental
number, "Minor Mule," with Hinkle leading the way on acoustic guitar à
la Django Reinhardt. Too cool!
The mood changes completely on the next cut, "Rolling Up The Sidewalks,"
a sleepy, late night 'Tom Waits meets Charles Brown' kind of thing.
Equally as eclectic is the jazzy funk tune, "Ain't Gonna Make That
Call," with Cadwallader adding strong organ playing.
"Funky Town" is just what it sounds like ... a funky shuffle with a
strong bass line and some real good piano work from Cadwallader and a
nice bluesy guitar solo from Hinkle.
Just when you think you've figured this disc out, Hinkle brings out
accordionist Ponty Bone and launches into a zydeco number, "Say It To Me
One More Time."
Wrapping up the CD is another after hours, jazzy tune titled "That Was
Then." Hinkle's voice sounds stronger on this one than on any of the
previous 13 cuts, and his guitar playing is sublime. A nice way to end
Blues Now, Jazz Later is an excellent disc that has already moved
on to my Top Ten list for 2007. I expect that it will still be there at
the end of the year.
--- Bill Mitchell