Tuesday, November 11, 2014


From Montreal, Officer did this album on a grant-funded sojourn to New York, where he did some playing and got back in touch with his blues roots. The respected guitar player is best known for his jazz work, as the right-hand man to Susie Arioli in her group, and on his one, but here he goes back to his days working in the Montreal blues scene. As usual, it's his slick and clean playing that is the highlight, plus he does cross back and forth in the closeness of the jazz-blues world.

It's a stripped down album, with just bass and drums joining in, but some heavy cats were involved. Charlie Drayton has drummed on lots of Keith Richards solo work, and Tony Mason has done the same for folks from Norah Jones to Bo Diddley. For the most part, everybody lays back to let the unadulterated sound come from Officer, who keeps it almost effect-free, just a little reverb. The drums are crisp, the bass right down at the bottom, it's a listener's record, and certainly one for guitar purists. Just to prove he can wail, right at the end of the disc, Officer includes a cover of the instrumental Hang 'Em High, the theme song from the Clint Eastwood western of the same name. He spits out the melody the whole way through, showing that he can be fast too, it's just that there's more to life than speed.

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