Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How Cool Was T-Bone Walker?

Answer: very.
In doing some research on basic T-Bone info, what do we find? It's a centenary year for the immortal musician, a brilliant guitarist, singer and songwriter ( "Stormy Monday Blues" anyone?) who was as comfortable in a jazz setting as he was in the blues. Here, fronting an A-list J.A.T.P band, Walker is his old unflappable self, pealing off silken guitar runs touched by characteristically eccentric touches and singing so smooth it gives you the tingles. With T-Bone you hear those that he obviously listened to for inspiration -- Charlie Christian, Eddie Durham -- as well as later giants who turned to him for guidance: B.B. King, Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix.
And speaking of eccentricities... Walker may have held his guitar like a keyboard at times, but he still played a recognizable instrument. Clark Terry, on the other hand, leaves his horns behind for his solo, tooting the blues on a mouthpiece. Not surprisingly, T-Bone seems to get a kick out of it. As Dizzy and company likewise feel for this Texas titan.

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