Anyone who caught Jeff Beck's set at Eric Clapton's 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival (or even the two-song DVD excerpt) was probably salivating at the hope that an entire performance with the same band would appear on CD and DVD. This is it, 72 minutes and 16 tracks compiled from a week of shows at the U.K.'s famed Ronnie Scott's, and it's as impressive as any Beck fan would expect. The guitarist's last official U.S.-released live disc was from his 1976 Wired tour (an authorized "bootleg" of his 2006 tour with bassist Pino Palladino is available at gigs and online; others pop up as expensive imports), making the appearance of this music from just over three decades later a long-awaited, much-anticipated event.
Ronnie Earl's Maxwell Street is named in honour of blues pianist and previous member of the Broadcasters David Maxwell and is a nod to Chicago's Maxwell Street where blues musicians gathered to play outside for the Sunday market crowds. It confirms Ronnie Earl's status as one of the most soulful blues/soul/jazz guitarists working today. Earl is a three-time Blues Award winner as Guitarist Of The Year working with his band of over 25 years. This album is dedicated to my big brother David Maxwell. We were born on the same day ten years apart. His playing was a deep as the ocean, as high as the sky and as bright as a quasar. When he passed I felt a huge loss as I still do. David was a Broadcaster and he and I made a few records together…
When Ronnie Laws first started recording as a leader in 1975, one of the saxman's strongest allies was Wayne Henderson. That trombonist and founding member of the Crusaders (originally the Jazz Crusaders) was an expert when it came to combining the accessibility of soul and funk with the freedom of jazz, and his guidance proved to be a definite asset when he produced early Laws albums like Pressure Sensitive (1975) and Fever (1976). The popular Grover Washington, Jr. was a strong influence on Laws, whose appreciation of Mr. Magic asserts itself on everything from the funky "Let's Keep It Together" and the gritty "Captain Midnite" to Bobby Lyle's alluring "Night Breeze."
"Let me begin by saying that this is not the greatest jazz album you've ever heard." So states critic/DJ Harry Abraham in the liner notes on the back of Sweet Revival, Ronnie Foster's second album as a leader. Abraham was obviously trying to deflect criticism that this record is, in his words, "a commercial album that could have just as easily been titled 'Ronnie Foster Plays the Top 40 hits of the Seventies With Horns, Strings and Voices,'" but nothing he could write would make this album acceptable to jazz purists.