The association of blues guitar great Robillard and jazz sax champ Hamilton goes back to ’69, before Duke formed the horn-led Roomful Of Blues and Scott was hailed as a swing-jazz savior. Years after their last studio collaboration, the mutual respect and familiarity is palpable on this set of standards, obscurities, and originals.
A better argument for the fact that “old music” need not be mere nostalgia, the pair’s playing is vital and in-the-moment. The easy lilt of “I’m Putting All My Eggs In One Basket” finds the Rhode Island icon delivering a textbook in economy and taste, complementing Sugar Ray Norcia’s excellent vocal.
The tone Duke pulls from his J.W. Murphy archtops (one an 18″ cedar-top with Kent Armstrong humbucker, the other a 17″ spruce-top with vintage DeArmond pickups) beautifully colors “All I Do Is Dream of You” – fat, but with plenty of definition. Like Junior Watson and the late Charlie Baty, Providence’s finest demonstrates the symbiotic relationship between blues and jazz guitar as few ever have; just check out Count Basie’s evergreen “One O’Clock Jump.”
This article originally appeared in VG’s November 2021 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.