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Duke ROBILLARD, Jay GEILS, Gerry BEAUDOIN – New Guitar Summit 2004

Posted in BLUES, Duke ROBILLARD, Gerry BEAUDOIN, Jay GEILS on November 25, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Duke ROBILLARD, Jay GEILS, Gerry BEAUDOIN – New Guitar Summit 2004


My name is Gerry Beaudoin and I am a member of the New Guitar Summit. This is not a review of our recording ( I will leave that to others) but an inside look at what is like to make a recording with two great guitarists. I have been playing with Duke since 1986 and Jay since 1992. Many gigs later I am still in awe of how great they play and how easy it is to play with them. Highlights for me from this recording are many but a few really stick out in my mind. I love the way Jay and Duke make my four original songs sparkle with great solos and greater but subtle backing behind the solist. This is a lost art in jazz and hard to do but they pull it off with ease. Playing a melody is an art and Jay is at the top of his game on Lady B Good. I spent some years playing with blues shouter and alto saxophonist Eddie ” Cleanhead ” Vinson. Duke excels on slow blues and does a superlative job on Eddies Back Door Blues on vocals as well as guitar. Duke and I both have fond memories of playng with Cleanhead and this was a fitting nod of our hat to a great bluesman we both loved. Jay arranged Perdido and Bennies Bugle and I must say our signature three guitar harmony on these tunes really grabbed me. The best part of playing with two great guitarists like Jay and Duke is they drive you to play well and try to exceed what you have done in the past. This is a great ,swinging record and I am really proud to have been a part of it. Last but not least , listen to our smooth rhythm section of John ” The Burner” Turner on acoustic bass and Gordon Grottenthaler ( try to say his last name five times real fast) on drums. We couldn’t have done it with out them.
Please enjoy the music as much as we enjoyed making it.
By Gerry Beaudoin.
This unassuming and delightful little album visits a time when jazz and blues were still directly entwined, drawing on the ghosts of guitarists like Charlie Christian, Eddie Durham, Bill Jennings, Tiny Grimes, Barney Kessel, and Kenny Burrell, guitarists who used the blues to enrich the jazz pieces they played on, a kind of ensemble contribution that is all too frequently missing on the contemporary blues scene. Duke Robillard, Jay Geils, and Gerry Beaudoin are all gifted guitar players, each with his own career, but as a trio working three-part harmony lines around each other, they bring a stately ensemble grace to the tracks on New Guitar Summit (the trio also appears under that name when they do live shows). This is not a speaker-shattering blues-rock outing, and although everything here is informed by the blues, it is front and center a jazz album. Wonderful old chestnuts like “Perdido,” the melody line of which was written by Juan Tizol, Duke Ellington’s longtime valve trombonist, are given respectful, lightly swinging arrangements, and the three independent guitar lines work in easy harmonies with each other. When the solos come, they feel like perfect little waves breaking against a beach, wave after wave, one after another. Working with a rhythm section of John Turner on bass and Gordon Grottenthaler on drums, the three guitarists bring an interesting new perspective to Billie Holiday’s “‘Tain’t Nobody’s Bizness if I Do,” which includes a tentative yet poignant vocal by Beaudoin, who also wrote two of the best pieces here, the gypsy blues “Azzure Mineur” and the album’s defining track, the perfectly swinging “Just Among Friends.” Robillard takes a vocal turn on saxophonist Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson’s “Backdoor Blues,” but this is primarily an instrumental CD, with wonderfully nuanced guitar lines taking center stage. Charming, calm, and frequently beautiful, New Guitar Summit won’t stir the beer-and-a-shot crowd, but it is a welcome exploration of a place and a time when jazz and blues were not yet estranged.
By Steve Leggett. AMG.
The New Guitar Summit is a brilliant masterpiece for any lover of jazz, and great guitar music. It features 3 New England guitarists in a non pretentious setting, that will take the listener to the next level of consciousness, with infectious licks and many, many solos. None of these gentlemen step on each other, nor try to outshine the other, yet while boasting a powerhouse trio of soloing and tremendous rhythm playing as well. The Guitar Summit consists of Gerry Beaudoin, a natural, brilliant, and trained jazz guitarist. I’ve seen this band, and I am a guitarist myself. Let me just say this about Gerry, He plays chords I never knew existed, nor ever knew the human hand can stretch to such positions on the neck, yet provide such clarity in his strum and pick. Playing alongside Gerry, stage center, is Duke Robillard. Duke is known from his Roomful of Blues Days, Fabulous Thundebirds, and his own Duke Robillard Band. Duke is also a recipient of many WC Handy awards. His style is dazzling to the ears, and he is truly a master. Finishing the trio of guitarists is Jay Geils. He, of course, is known to many as the guitarist for the J. Geils Band. Unfortunately, most folks only know him from the Geils Band, yet they don’t realize just what a talented individual Jay is. Jay is actually playing the best guitar of his life now. He proves just how fantastic his playing is, from being able to go from Rock to Blues(with Magic Dick and Bluestime) to Jazz, with a sound and style that would make Charlie Christian proud. The band is rounded out by the best rhythm section New England can ever provide. John Turner The Midnight Burner on the upright acoustic bass, and Gordon Grottenthaler on the drums. To see this band live is something else. The cd takes me back to the day of hearing my father’s 78s, listening to the likes of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, etc….

Listening to this cd makes me feel like I am in a big ballroom in the 1930s and 40s. I was instantly hooked from the first lick of “Bennie’s Bugle”. These guys really do this great Charlie Christian number justice, with it’s upbeat swing that guarantees You shaking in Your seat, while adding thier own unique twist. “Never Say Never Again Again” features Duke on vocals, and is a really great song, with the guitarists trading off fancy solos over a superb rhythm that flows smoothly. “Swing with Dr. Jake” does exactly what the title suggests, it swings. “Ain’t nobody’s business” features a great and moody intro by Gerry that sets the tone of this song. It also features vocals by Gerry, which I wish there was more of, as he is a great singer. “Lady B. Good”, and “Azzure Mineur” has some real tasty licks between the 3 of these cats, back and forth, taking You for ride in a old 1942 Pontiac to a New York City Ballroom. “Just Among Friends” is a great Gerry original, that was also on “Retrospective”, which is another New Guitar Summit cd that is a must have. “Perdido” is a nice mellow tune, that has a great groove for drinking some wine, in a dim lit room, while holding onto Your girl. “Backdoor Blues” is Duke at his finest. The solos are greasy and slick, and Duke’s vocal growl drives the point home! “Seven Come Eleven” is a Charlie Christian original that is even better live. Check out the New Guitar Summit dvd at the Stonehenge to truly experience this song. Closing out the cd is “Glide On”, which a nice bluesy waltz. Over all I give this cd 5 stars out of 5 stars for the brilliance, clarity, and enjoyment. There are no egos with this band, and together as a whole, they do what they aimed, which is take the listener for a ride of a lifetime. I hope we see many many more cds to come from the New Guitar Summit.
By John Lang.
This album has a rather presumptuous title, but then the completed effort has produced some pretty good results. Although the three guitarists have known each other for a long time, the only common bond is their New England heritage. Jay Geils founded the J. Geils Band, one of the most popular rock bands of the late 1970s and early 1980s, based out of Boston. Geils reports that he was a jazzer as a youth and was musically distracted by the opportunity to lead a rock band. Duke Robillard, from Rhode Island, founded the long running Roomful of Blues Group in ’67, has recorded extensively in a blues, jump blues and even postwar swing era combo, and was awarded a W.C. Handy “Best Guitarist” Award four times. Gerry Beaudoin is regarded as one of New England’s most respected guitarists and educators. He spent years working with blues and jazz combos, including those led by Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, more recently recording and appearing with the guitarist/mandolinist David Grisman.
There really isn’t too much on this album not to like, although some vocals come pretty close. The twelve tunes are a combination of standards and three tasty Beaudoin originals. The two Benny Goodman-associated tracks, “Bennies Bugle” and “Seven Come Eleven,” suggest an homage to Charlie Christian’s role as a pioneer of jazz guitar in the modern era, and in general the music is a retro appreciation of the small combo postwar swing groups in which the guitar played a major part.
Although the three guitarists come from different musical directions, they are all playing on the same wavelength here. It is reasonably difficult to make the solo distinctions amongst the trio but generally Geils plays with a more metallic sound than the others. The difference between his solos and those of Robillard or Beaudoin is manifested in the latter’s full ringing notes, with far more plucked tone than Geils. On the Vinson “Backdoor Blues,” Geils makes a strong blues statement, compared to the equally effective Beaudoin solo in the style of Herb Ellis.
Not to quibble over minor points, the album is a pleasure to absorb and appreciate. The players are all enjoying themselves and the fine performances just keep coming one after another. A few vocals are included, and although this offers some variety in programming, they are not necessary. Robillard tackles “Never Say Never Again Again” in a barroom baritone and is a bit more effective on “Backdoor Blues,” done in the style of “Cleanhead” Vinson. Beaudoin makes a rare vocal appearance on “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” with the vocal choruses separating the guitar solos.
By Michael P. Gladstone.
Jay Geils- Guitar;
Duke Robillard- Guitar, Acoustic Rhythm Guitar, Vocals;
Gerry Beaudoin- 6-String Electric End 7-String Electric Guitar, Vocal;
John Turner-Bass;
Gordon Grottenthaler-Drums.
01.Benny’s Bugle 3:34
02.Never Say Never Again Again 5:02
03.Swing With Dr. Jake 5:04
04.‘Tain’t Nobody’s Bizness If I Do 5:13
05.Oh, Lady Be Good 5:08
06.Azzure Mineur 4:51
07.Just Among Friends 3:25
08.Perdido 4:42
09.Backdoor Blues 5:22
10.Seven Come Eleven 4:33
11.Glide On 8:48

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