Robert Lockwood, Jr.

Does 12

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The liner notes kick off with the claim that this blues guitarist is different than many others because he, unlike them, "is into musical evolution." The proof would be in the pudding, as just about everything involving this session has something to do with pushing at boundaries, not playing the blues in the same old way. To start, he focuses on the 12-string guitar, which -- lovely as it is -- has been as popular in blues as the zither, with the exception of a few stray 12-bangers in the hands of players such as Blind Willie McTell. Anyone who has ever tried to play a blues-style "bend" on a 12-string will understand why. If that isn't enough, Lockwood assembles a band that is able to bring jazz and rhythm & blues influences in, giving the music an ultra-expansive feel. The presence of a Robert Johnson cover followed by one by soul-bop saxophonist Gene Ammons pretty much sums it up. The leader does some sharp playing and, although his sidekicks aren't quite on his level, they certainly don't do anything to seriously hinder the music. Lockwood continued bouncing back and forth between this style of playing and the more traditional, but may not have nailed it all so perfectly again as he did on this date.

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