If the sepia-toned photos of the guitarist aren't enough indication that this album is a throwback to his jump blues roots, the "no Stratocasters were used in the making of this recording," liner note should settle it. An experienced musician with an impressive résumé supporting blues acts such as William Clarke, Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers, and Tad Robinson (who contributes vocals to three tracks here), Alex Schultz doesn't use his first solo album as a showcase for his impressive guitar skills. In fact, after recording the bulk of the tracks in 2001, he returned to the studio in 2003 to add three more instrumentals -- the only originals on the album -- that feature his clean yet tough guitar solos. The result is a well-rounded, horn-dominated project that recalls the great jump blues of the '40s and '50s, but retains enough contemporary sheen not to seem dated. Schultz's snappy lead lines and sure sense of style guide these 13 tracks. Veterans Finis Tasby, Lynwood Slim, and Robinson provide vocals on ten tunes, and all are in stunning form. The various singers mesh with the instrumentals to provide a diverse but focused album that never lags. Schultz digs into his influences to cover songs from Charlie Rich, Jimmy McCracklin, and Eddie "Guitar Slim" Jones, among others, all of which are delivered with style, sophistication, and a genuine respect for the genre. The closing Finis Tasby tune shifts into swampy territory with just standup bass and brushed drums as accompaniment. There isn't a false note on the disc as it swings with finger-popping, toe-tapping energy that will impress even the most dedicated lover of classic jump blues.
Think About It Review
by Hal Horowitz