Jack Bruce – Silver Rails

Jack Bruce is working on his first studio album in nine years. It is now in the writing and recording stage. Jack’s new album, Silver Rails is due to be released at the beginning of March 2014.

Silver Rails is being recorded at Abbey Road Studios featuring contributions from drummer Cindy Blackman Santana and keyboardist John Medeski. Bruce, Blackman Santana and Medeski, along with Vernon Reid of Living Colour recorded a jazz fusion album under the name Spectrum Road in June 2012. I wrote about this recording/touring nucleus in 2102 here.

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Spectrum Road

Tony Williams (drummer)
Tony Williams (drummer) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The jazz/rock fusion supergroup Spectrum Road (what a captivating cover graphic!) has furthered the music vision that Tony Williams Lifetime began with Emergency in 1969.

Ever since I discovered the illuminating music of John McLaughlin, I have been exuberant about Tony Williams. I recall writing a term paper for a music course about Mahavishnu John McLaughlin in 1973. I was doing research at CBS Records in NY City when I learned about how formative John McLaughlin’s fusion development was with Tony Williams Lifetime. The power trio of Tony Williams on drums, Larry Young on keyboards and John McLaughlin on guitar laid the foundation for jazz/rock fusion on their seminal recording, Emergency.

It was during John McLaughlin’s tenure with the band that Tony Williams introduced the young guitarist to Miles Davis, who was conducting his own fusion explorations at the time. This introduction led to McLaughlin playing on some of Davis’s most acclaimed and influential albums, including In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew, A Tribute to Jack Johnson, and On the Corner. Davis had a particular influence on the band, as Williams had played in his “Second Great Quintet” with Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, and Herbie Hancock, and Larry Young would go on to record on Bitches Brew. (Source: wikipedia, Emergency (album)

Jack Bruce joined the Tony Williams Lifetime for their second album, Turn It Over in 1970. It is fitting that Jack Bruce is a member of Spectrum Road today.

File:Cover - devotion.jpgJohn McLaughlin went on to record two recordings with Douglas Records, one of which Devotion took jazz/rock fusion to the electric stratosphere level (Larry Young also played on these sessions, Buddy Miles played drums).  The cosmic track, “Marbles” is a standout piece and a must hear.

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Spectrum Road is more than a Tony Williams Lifetime tribute band. The supergroup consists of Cindy Blackman Santana on drums, Jack Bruce on bass, Vernon Reid on guitar and John Medeski on keyboards. They are ultra-true to the sound and vision of Tony Williams Lifetime. They take his music legacy to a whole new level by building on his catalog and then extending it with their unique collaboration and improvisation.

Buddy Guy Bluesman

Cover of "Damn Right I Got the Blues"
Cover of Damn Right I Got the Blues

Is it just me or is this winter giving you a major case of the blues too? Well Buddy Guy has a solid cure for the winter doldrums. Every January Buddy Guy takes up residence at his club,
Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago. Wish I was in Chicago catching his act at his house 😉

Buddy Guy is 74 years young. He’s been making some great music these past few years. Buddy Guy’s legacy has produced a treasure trove of classic blues gems. Three major highlights I enjoy from Buddy’s treasure chest that I play often are A Man and the Blues (1968), Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues (1991) and Sweet Tea (2001).

He’s been a major influence on Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck and other guitar greats. He’s seminal to blues and rock and roll.

I’ve seen Buddy Guy several times live. He’s always an electrifying showman. The first time I saw Buddy Guy live was at The Salute to The Blues in 2003, where he played a rocking track with Angelique Kidjo and Vernon Reid, “Voodoo Child”. This number was performed at 3 a.m. in the morning, we were exhausted after 8 hours of concert and filming set changes. But this song launched us to our feet.

I next caught Buddy Guy at Toads Place in New Haven, Ct where John Mayer showed up unannounced. That was such a cool evening, standing at the edge of the stage watching them both play the blues with such earnest and mutual respect.

I then saw Buddy Guy just up the road apiece at Gathering of the Vibes in 2007, in Bridgeport, Ct. Here’s a Go Vibes video of Buddy Guy playing “Louisiana Blues.”

The last time  I saw  Buddy Guy live was at Madison Square Garden as Jeff Beck’s guest for the 25th Anniversary Rock and Roll Concert, October 30, 2009. Jeff Beck is so in awe of him.

Eric Clapton invited Buddy Guy to play at his Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2010 in Chicago. Buddy Guy has also appeared at the 2004 and 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival events.

Here is some video footage of Buddy Guy, Ron Wood and Jonny Lang together in 2010.

Buddy Guy’s latest recording is called Living Proof, a most appropriate title In an earlier post this week about B.B. King I featured the video of the collaboration between Buddy Guy and B.B. King, “Stay Around A Little Longer.” It is one of two guest star tracks on Living Proof. The other guest track features Carlos Santana and Buddy Guy on “Where The Blues Began”. The rest of Living Proof is solid and distinct.

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