The Duke Robillard Jazz Trio – Wobble Walkin’ – Blue Duchess Records BDCD001, 66:49 ****:
( Duke Robillard – guitars; Brad Hallen – acoustic bass; Mark Teixeira – drums)
Although Duke Robillard is a fine blues guitarist with strong jazz leanings. He has, for the most part, flown under the radar for jazz enthusiasts. In this latest release Wobble Walkin’, Robillard demonstrates his jazz sensibilities with panache and verve.
In this thirteen-track outing, Robillard uses the standard American songbook as his touchstone intermingled with a number of his own blues-tinged compositions as evidenced by the title tune “Wobble Walkin’ ”. Essential to any successful venture in which the guitarist is centre-stage, is rhythmic support, and both bassist Brad Hallen and drummer Mark Teixeira fill the bill. Both lay down the sound elements and musical structures on their respective instruments that allows Robillard to deliver his improvisations. On “Things Ain’t What They Used To Be” bassist Hallen establishes a solid groove over which Robillard weaves his magic. Not to be outdone drummer Teixeira swings brilliantly on “ Hi-Heel Sneakers” and “ Back Home Again In Indiana”.
Robillard never strays very far from his strengths as he demonstrates with a couple of his own compositions such as “ Sunday Mornin” and “ Jesse’s Blues”. His infectious blues-based riffs give a buoyant resonance to the first composition and in the latter he offers a dreamy emotional solo. There is one vocal track on the album and that is by Mickey Freeman with “Gee Baby Ain’t I Good To You” while not outstanding, is still tastefully rendered and has empathic backing from Robillard. As he continues his exploration of some well known standards such as “All Of Me” and “If I Had You” Robillard confirms his jazz intentions with solos that are ripe with interesting musical ideas and note shapes that seem just right for the occasion.
Duke Robillard is not a derivative guitarist but has found his own voice with much to offer.
TrackList: Wobble Walkin’; I Can’t Believe You’re In Love with Me; Sunday Mornin; Gee Baby Ain’t I Good To You; Skippy’s Dream; All Of Me; Thing’s Ain’t What They Used To Be; You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To; Hi-Heel Sneakers; If I Had You; Back Home Again In Indiana; Jesse’s Blues
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