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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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Showing posts with label Me & The Originator. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Me & The Originator. Show all posts

Monday, August 6, 2018

Sweetspot Records artist: Al Basile - Me & the Originator - Al Basile - New Release review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Me & the Originator, from Al Basile and it's a cool mix of poetry, story telling and super music. Opening with the initial story line, Basile sets the stage for the release in story telling fashion. Continuing the story but through song, Basile on vocal and cornet, leads the way, backed by Brad Hallen on bass, Mark Teixeira on tom tom, Bruce Bears on keys and Duke Robillard on guitar. My J-O-B is a cool shuffle track with some of the best vocals on the release. Robillard's riffs are tight with a swing feel and Basile's own cornet work paired with the trumpet work of Jeff Chanonhouse is always cool. One of my favorite tracks on the release is She Made Me Believe It, a slower blues number with soulful vocals, brass and organ backing and super guitar soloing by Robillard. Excellent! Here Come Your Trouble is another cool shuffle tune with a solid bop cornet solo from Basile and excellent piano work from Bears. R&B style blues track, First One To Go, has a real nice guitar solo by Robillard and stylistic cornet work by Basile over solid bass work of Hallen. Very nice. Wrapping the release is If It Goes It Goes/How It Goes, a bluesy jazz number with a great walking bass line and grinding guitar riffs by Robillard. Hallen's bass line, Bears' bright key work and Chanonhouse's trumpet backing roll the release into Basile's closure on his story. This is an interesting release with some really cool music.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Multi Blues Music Award Nominee Al Basile Brings His Songs and Stories to Life on New CD, "Me & the Originator," Out June 15 on Sweetspot Records

Multi Blues Music Award Nominee Al Basile Brings His Songs and Stories to Life on New CD, Me & the Originator, Out June 15 on Sweetspot Records

RUMFORD, RI – Multi Blues Music Award nominee Al Basile brings his original songs and stories to life on the new CD, Me & the Originator, releasing June 15 on Sweetspot Records. Produced by Duke Robillard, who also adds his guitar talents on the new disc, Me & the Originator showcases Al’s abilities as a storyteller in poems and songs, and as a vocalist and cornet player, backed by an additional group of New England-based all-star musicians, including Mark Texeira (drums), Brad Hallen (bass), Bruce Bears (keyboards), Doug James (tenor and baritone sax) and Jeff “Doc” Chanonhouse (trumpet).

Al Basile, who is also a prize-winning poet, will celebrate the release of the new CD by performing Me & the Originator as a one-man show at the West Chester Poetry Conference, West Chester, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, June 9, from 3:30-4:45 pm.

“For the 20th anniversary of my Sweetspot label, I wanted to do something different,” Basile says about the new project. “Inspired by the running narrative between the songs on Louis Armstrong: My Musical Biography, I decided to tell a story about an imaginary musician who found lyrics, set music to them, but never admitted he didn't write the words after he got famous. It's a story about blues songs – how they came to be, and who can claim them as theirs, that speaks to the history of the music as we've inherited it. The story is told by the narration and the songs working together.

“Many people know me as a musician, and many others as a poet. I wanted to create a project that required both of my creative hats at once. I don't know how often people have told a story using poems and songs which work together this way, but it's something that I'm especially equipped to do. It fits in the category of a blues album, but it's something different, something more.”

Basile’s last album, Quiet Money (2017), continued to build on his legacy as the “bard of the blues,” combining superb blues and roots music within the framework of intelligent and insightful lyrics, garnering him yet another Blues Music Award nomination for his horn playing. He also received a 2016 Best Contemporary Blues Album nomination for Mid-Century Modern.

“I had told the story of this character in poetic form in my first book A Lit House,” Basile offers. “Those interested in what happened eventually to him can find out by reading ‘Leaving Trunk’ in that book. I decided to write a dozen new songs, and have the character comment in poems about how the songs came to be written, and how they related to his own life. I planned to read the poems in the voice of the character, and have Duke Robillard play solo guitar lead-ins for each one (he came up with spectacular introductions, as you'll hear).

“The circumstances under which the disc was recorded were unusual. I had written the songs and the poems which tell the story very early on for me – it was all written by May of 2017. I spent the summer recording demos and making arrangements, and was finished by September. We were scheduled to record in January. I fell ill in October, and was very limited in what I could do physically going into the winter – but I'd finished the work early so I was lucky. I made being able to run the session, sing and play the goal of my recovery, and was able to hold up my end when the time came. Of course Duke and the guys helped me out tremendously.”

Arranged in a lavish multi-panel CD booklet that includes all the lyrics to the songs, as well as the stories behind them, Me & the Originator is an exciting and nourishing reading/listening experience.    

“Because I'd finished the writing so early, I decided to try a different approach to recording,” Basile adds about the studio work. “Usually we track the songs in an order that makes sense for the way the day is unfolding rather than in any particular order. The sequence is determined later in the project, when we're done with the mixes. This time, I gave the guys advance notice of the narration (even though they wouldn't be playing on those tracks) so they would understand the story and how the songs fit in. I'd already decided the sequence while writing the narrative and the songs – planning grooves and keys to lead the listener through the story of the narrator's life. Then we actually recorded the songs in sequence – that way the guys could attend to details knowing exactly what the listener would have heard in the preceding song, and what the next one would be like. This involved the players on a new level, and I think it shows in the flow of the album – there's a natural inevitability that leads you through the story.”