Like Jimmy Witherspoon, T-Bone Walker, and Dave Specter, J.W. Jones is the sort of person who likes a lot of jazz in his blues. Defibrillatin', the Canadian guitarist/singer's debut album, doesn't cater to bop snobs -- Jones doesn't spend all of his time trying to show you how fast he can play John Coltrane's "Giant Steps" or Sonny Rollins' "Oleo," but he does sound like the sort of bluesman who has spent a lot of time listening to guys like Jimmy Smith and Jimmy McGriff (not to mention T-Bone Walker). And he plays the sort of jump blues and blues-jazz that comes naturally when you like to blow and improvise; Jones' fondness for jazz comes through on the vocal numbers as well as the instrumentals. The closest that Jones gets to bop on this CD is "Dizzy Spells," an instrumental that was obviously named after trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. Although likable, the vocal numbers point to the fact that Jones is more of a guitarist than a singer -- in fact, he didn't start singing until he was advised that doing so would increase his commercial appeal. Defibrillatin' isn't earth-shattering, but it's a decent, if derivative, debut. And to his credit, Jones handles most of the writing himself instead of inundating listeners with overdone blues standards.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson