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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Stony Plain Records artist: Jeff Healey - Vintage Jazz, Swing and Blues - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Vintage Jazz, Swing and Blues from Jeff Healey and it's great! Healey, a serious vintage record collector (over 30,000 78's of classic 20's and 30's music) was well known as Canada's top rock and blues guitar player and band leader but prior to his untimely death in 2008 opened a club in Toronto and formed Jeff Healey's Jazz Wizards. Fortunately, some of that fine work that Jeff did in his love for the early music is compiled here as a part of The Best of Series. Opening with Kalmar and Ruby's Three Little Words, featuring Healey on vocal and guitar, Jesse Barksdale on rhythm guitar Reide Kaiser on piano, Colin Bray on bass and the exceptional solo work of Tom Pletcher on coronet and Dan Levinson on clarinet. You've never heard Healey play this guitar style. Excellent! Lang and Venuti's intrumental, The Wildcat, screams along with really nice violin work from Drew Jurecka on violin and Healey on guitar. Wow! Carmichael and Parish classic, Star Dust, features Healey's solid vocals with Roberto Rosenman with an excellent guitar solo. Snyder, Smith and Wheeleer composition, The Sheik of Araby, finds Healey not only on lead vocal but playing really fine trumpet along with Ross Woolridge on clarinet, Jurecka on violin, Reide Kaiser on piano, Colin Bray on bass and Gary Scriven on drums and washboard. This track rips! Jones and Collins, Guitar Duet Stomp, shows some of Healey's most sensitive guitar work along the lines of Django and Bireli. Strong! Harling and Coslow track Sing You Sinners really digs into the Dixieland sound. This track has the full lineup with Healey on vocal, trumpet and guitar; Jurecka on violin, Barksdale on guitar; Bray on bass; Christopher Plock on soprano and alto sax; Chris Barber on trombone and Brian Graville on piano. Excellent! Hill and Williams composition, I Would Do Anything For You, features Healey on vocal, guitar and trumpet, Plock on soprano sax, Gary Scriven on drums, Barksdale on acoustic guitar and kaiser on piano. Super! Mercer and Malneck swinger, Pardon My Southern Accent, features Healey on vocal, Scriven on drums, Bray on bass, Kaiser on piano, Danny Douglas on trombone and Ross Woolridge on clarinet. Shelton Brooks' Some Of These Days, features an excellent acoustic "gypsy" guitar solo and trumpet solo from Healey. This track swings! Meyer and Ruby composition, My Honey's Lovin' Arms, shows just how smooth Healey can be on lead vocal on these tracks, with Levinson matching up nicely on clarinet to Pletcher on coronet. Kaiser on piano and Bray on bass fill out the piece with Barksdale on rhythm guitar and Healey throws out a really nicely articulated swing guitar solo. Fine! Carmichael's Hong Kong Blues has a comical feel to it next to much of the release but some of the guitar picking on this track is so fine it had to be included. Wrapping the release is Pinard, Bernie and Casey's classic, Sweet Georgia Brown, and it is a full out jam with Healey singing over the top backed by Barber on trombone, Jurecka on violin, Plock on sax, Barksdale on guitar, Bray on bass, Graville on piano and Scriven on drums. This is an excellent review of Healey's work outside of the blues rock genre and a must have for anyone at all interested in contemporary swing jazz. Excellent!

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