Monday, September 19, 2011

Three Kings reviewed by Rick Davis

Three Kings
Jeff Golub
Entertainment One Music
13 Tracks

Jeff Golub is well established in the jazz world with six contemporary jazz solo albums and another three CDs as the leader of the jazz band Avenue Blue. In his youth, he started playing the music of blues rock artists like Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimi Hendrix. He took the blues one step further by listening to Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, and of course B.B. King, Albert King, and Freddie King. Listening to Wes Montgomery, inspired him to direct his attention to study at Berklee Music College in Boston. Golub's career started as a sideman working with artists like Rod Stewart and Billy Squire in New York as early as 1980.

It was after this that he began his career as a jazz guitarist with his first solo recording, Unspoken Words for Gaia records in 1988, but really emerged as band leader and instrumentalist with the release of Avenue Blue in 1994 for Mesa Bluemoon/Atlantic records. When asked to review his latest CD Three Kings, a blues tribute, it was quite a surprise to discover that Jeff's career had taken a totally different direction as a blues artist. This is a follow up to Golub's first blues release Blues For You in 2009. Three Kings is of course a tribute to the music made famous by the three blues legends B.B. King, Albert King, and Freddie King as they toured the world throughout their illustrious careers. Jeff has returned to the blues this time with Henry Butler on piano and vocals, Andy Hess of Gov't Mule on bass, and Josh Dion on drums, percussion, and vocals. The all star cast is highlighted with Henry Butler on vocals and piano on "Let The Good Times Roll," "Born Under A Bad Sign," "Have You Ever Loved a Woman," "Oh Pretty Woman," and "I'm Tore Down." He brings in Robben Ford on "Sidetracked" and Sonny Landreth on "In Plain Sight." Other tunes on the CD include "Help The Poor," "Everyday I Have The Blues," "Freddie's Midnight Dream," "Stumblin' Home," an instrumental arrangement of "The Thrill Is Gone," and the tribute song written by Henry Butler himself, "Three Kings."

Golub's guitar work is superb and vocals rival his guitar solos.  One has to question whether he is better at blues or jazz as a guitarist. I think the CD best answers that question. He is one of those rare talented artists who is at the top of his game no matter what the genre. His career has taken him from an accomplished jazz artist to an equally talented R&B and blues guitarist with just two albums. What is next for Jeff Golub?
Hopefully his deep passion will continue for the blues. Three Kings is one explosive musical tribute.

Reviewed by Rick Davis

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