Eugene Chadbourne

The Chadbourne Luck, Vol. 2

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The Chadbourne Luck is a series of two CDs (sold separately) culling solo performances of jazz standards by the good Doctor. Volume two is much superior in quality than the first CD. The sound is better and the performances are more focused. Chadbourne sticks to the acoustic and clean electric guitar, delivering his own personal arrangements of standards like "I'll Never Smile Again" and "Merry Go Round." He leaves lots of room for improvisation, but most of the time remains very close to the melody and chords. For the last portion he transforms into an avant-jazz crooner, singing strong renditions of "These Foolish Things" and "Skylark," replete with sudden wild guitar runs and unexpected left turns -- but he never loses sight of the song he's playing. On the instrumental tracks one can often hear him humming, and on only a couple of them the audience gets noisy, but it is nothing compared to volume one. No electric rake, no tricks, only virtuoso playing and restrained vocals during the encore -- perfect to listen to the guitarist without any distraction. Better than The Chadbourne Luck, Vol. 1 or The Lost Eddie Chatterbox Sessions, this CD still remains more of a completist item; the Doctor's jazz-standard renditions are not his most vital work.