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True Blue from Ellis Kell
Argus/Dispatch blues columnist

December 2001

In the spirit of the coming holiday season, we wish you all a Red, White and Blue Christmas this year. 2001 will no doubt go down in history as one of the most trying years this country (and its allies) has ever faced. We hope and pray that the coming new year will give birth to a new unity of purpose and common resolve to secure a lasting peace for all mankind. That said, there is more than 'a plenty new blues, jazz and houserockin' music to fill your homes and hearts this holiday season!

"A Nancy Wilson Christmas," Nancy Wilson (Telarc/MCG Jazz) - A grand lady of jazz bring her noble spirit and stellar voice to the tracks in these holiday favorites. In-as-much, the tracks also reflect Ms. Wilson's commitment to community service and intercultural underding through her music. This holiday jazz collection features Ms. Wilson with her own trio, as well as tracks with the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Star Band, the New York Voices, Monty Alexander, James Moody, Herbie Mann and others. Let it snow!

"Blind Pig Records 25th Anniversary Collection" Various Artists (Blind Pig Records) This collection includes two full length audio CDs, plus a bonus CD-ROM with video performances and interviews. A special 24-page booklet also includes artist photos and biographical liner notes. Artists featured are Muddy Waters, B. B. King, Delbert McClinton, Taj Mahal, James Cotton, Joe Louis Walker, Deborah Coleman, Big Bill Morganfield, Jimmy Thackery, Albert Collins, Tommy Castro, Magic Slim, John Mooney, Pinetop Perkins, Popa Chubby, and Chris Thomas. This is truly an epic Blues sampler, and required listening for Blues students old and new.

"The Final Concert Recording," Stan Getz (Eagle Jazz) Recorded during Getz' s last tour of Europe with his sextet, this collection includes live performances from the Apasionado album. Getz is backed by pianist Kenny Barron, keyboardist Frank Zottoli, synthesizer player Eddie Del Barrio, bassist Alex Blake and drummer Terri Lynne Carrington. Getz' health had rebounded after two bouts with cancer, and he delivered stellar performances on the tour. Shortly afterwards, the cancer returned and Getz passed away in June of 1991. This performance is a great parting shot by one of the true jazz greats.

"Live at the Royal Festival Hall, London," Dizzy Gillespie & the United Nations Orchestra (Eagle Jazz) Dizzy Gillespie had created the United Nations Orchestra as an ensemble to showcase the varied cultural and rhythmic influences the artist considered vital to the development of jazz. This recording was made in June of 1989, and includes Gillespie classics and Cuban and South American pieces. Rich interpretations by a jazz legend.

"Ronnie Earl and Friends," Ronnie Earl (Telarc) This collection unites the Roomful of Blues guitar great with some of the most prominent names in the business. Guests include Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson, Irma Thomas, Kim Wilson, James Cotton, and Levon Helm, drummer and founding member of The Band. Recorded in November, 2000 at Bearsville Studios in Woodstock, New York, these sessions brought Ronnie Earl back to the people and roots that inspired his early years. A legendary line-up gives birth to some legendary tracks.

Special Blues from 'Down Under'

"Barron Delta Blue," Andy Collins (Independent Release - Australia) This CD came to us direct from the land down under, and really knocked us out. Andy Collins' music is a tasty blend of blues and fine folk stories, with great bottleneck guitar, blues harp, swing, country blues and R&B mixed in. The recording has been recognized in Australia as the Queensland Blues Excellence "Album of the Year 2000," received runner-up as Song of the Year for "Long Lonesome Road,"and was also honored as Adult Contemporary "Album of the Year 2000" by the Queensland Recording Association. This CD is available only online via the artist's site at . Unique, fresh, and inspired tracks!

Further on up the road.

The one and only Larry McCray will deliver his 100-proof brand of blues as part of the big New Year's celebration at the RiverCenter in Davenport, while John Resch & The Detroit Blues will be ringing in the New Year at Abbey Station in Rock Island. We wish you all a Happy Blue New Year, peace & blessings and, until we meet again at this crossroads.

Blues to ‘ya!

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