Boots Randolph

A Whole New Ballgame

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Boots Randolph will always be best-known for his cornball pop hit "Yakety Sax" and for his association with country music, but he has long loved swinging jazz. Years ago he recorded an effective jazz album with Richie Cole called Yakety Madness!. Randolph's huge tone, influenced by Illinois Jacquet, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Coleman Hawkins, perfectly fits into the idiom, and on A Whole New Ballgame, he performs no-nonsense jazz. Although the occasional synthesized strings of keyboardist Jason Webb sounds a little cheesy in spots, Randolph is heard throughout in top form. He displays very impressive technique, knows the songs well and swings hard without going too over the top. The rhythm section is fine in support, with pianist Steve Willets and guitarist Roddy Smith having solo space, but Randolph is the main show, really blowing up a storm on "L-O-V-E," an up-tempo "Take Me out to the Ballgame" and "Basically Blues." Recommended. Unfortunately, Radolph died about a month after this was released..

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