Album review: Robillard/Beaudoin/Geils, New Guitar Summit (2008)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 5, 2008

By Steve Newton

New Guitar Summit is an ongoing jazz project featuring guitarists Duke Robillard, Gerry Beaudoin, and Jay Geils, who some may remember as the guitarist for a kick-ass ’70s blues-rock band out of Detroit that turned lame in the ’80s and made hit records under his name.

In the company of various acoustic bassists and drummers, the trio of American pickers smoke in a low-key kinda way on a mix of originals and tunes from the songbooks of Benny Goodman (“Flying Home”), Fats Waller (“Honeysuckle Rose”), and Charlie Christian (“Shivers”).

But then they get Randy Bachman to contribute guitar and vocals to a couple of Mose Allison compositions, and things take a nose-dive. Not that Bachman can’t deliver snazzy jazz fretwork himself—even Bachman-Turner Overdrive fans figured that out way back when via “Blue Collar”—but the man shouldn’t be allowed to sing lead on sultry jazz workouts.

His massive voice only works when he’s hollering about rolling on down the highway—and not being fragile.

 

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