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Jeff Healey & The Jazz Wizards – It’s Tight Like That

From the back jacket:

Jeff Healey gained fame as a stunningly original rock/blues guitarist. His passion*, though, is the irresistible, infectious, joyful jazz and popular music of the ‘20s and ‘30s. Jeff plays both guitar and trumpet with his band, The Jazz Wizards, joined by legendary British jazz trombonist Chris Barber as special guest. Together, the Wizards make old music fresh and alive and thoroughly contemporary. They deliver it with humour and a profound respect for the tradition. 

Well, I couldn’t have said it any better myself. This whole thing fills me with so much joy. Stuff like this is my childhood, this was what I chose and heard in very formative years, and it’s a thrill to have this incredible album in my collection today. The band was absolutely smokin’ during these two nights of recording at Hugh’s Room in Toronto. Each instrument takes brilliant turns, the music is impeccable and yet still very much alive, not cold and clinical. This CD breathes, it drips sweat, and it dances like there’s no tomorrow.

Chris Barber brings a lifetime of brilliance to the show, his resume (I assume) is already well-known, as is his impact. And when he sings Basin Street Blues, we’re transported, lifted, and redeemed. And the whole show goes on like that, it’s simply stunning. It’s like having the best of New Orleans jazz history in a bottle and we just took off the lid! More amazingly, in reading Healey’s liner notes, he mentions that a couple of the tunes were pre-planned, but many of the tunes were called during the performance. Imagine! They sound like they’ve been playing together for years, not just a couple of days.

Folks, words can only begin to describe this superlative set. If you see it in the shops, buy it immediately. Play it often. It’s so very good for the soul.

R.I.P. Jeff.

The Tracks:
Bugle Call Rag
Sing You Sinners
Basin Street Blues
Little Girl
Someday Sweetheart
Darktown Strutters Ball
Keep It To Yourself
Sheik Of Araby
Goin’ Up The River
It’s Tight Like That/Wipe ‘Em Off

* I remember being in an indie record shop (long gone, now) on Yonge St. in Toronto years ago, and they had a whole section of the shop dedicated to discards and duplicate 78s from Healey’s personal collection. It was cool to flip through, for sure.  

Now In Haiku! Amanda Palmer, Belle and Sebastian, Boston Spaceships, Kevin Drew and Jeff Healey

Further to a recent conversation with James, I have (lately) been feeling the urge to try to write haiku. Don’t ask me why, just accept the spasms of my brain. Mind you, it does tie in nicely with my attempt to encapsulate my thoughts in a more succint manner.

Of course, I am terrible at haiku but, of course, this does not stop me. So, here are the first ever haiku for the KMA, comprised of stuff that’s been in my ears this week.

You’ll probably read these in 20 seconds and think I’m copping out, but this was a fun project and you’d be doing yourself a disservice to so quickly dismiss them. It’s difficult to get an album’s-worth of impressions into 17 syllables. Any comments would be appreciated (even in haiku!), so let’s hear it from you, Faithful KMA Readers…

Amanda Palmer – Who Killed Amanda Palmer?

piano freak girl
same, but now solo from Dolls
redeeming poems

Belle And Sebastian – The BBC Sessions

twee gods live and free
open, bright spare gorgeous tracks
as it is heard best

Boston Spaceships – The Planets Are Blasted

Spaceships overhead
dropping rawk bombs on the weak
as ever, genius

Broken Social Scene Presents: Kevin Drew – Spirit If

gleeful noise and pop
full indie affectations
played to great effect

Jeff Healey – Mess Of Blues

posthumous release
only makes me miss him more
sweet covers and blues

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