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Lynwood Slim and the Igor Prado Band - Brazilian Kicks

Delta Groove

13 tracks, 53.20 minutes

Lynwood Slim has been active on his own and other Delta Groove artists’ recordings (The Mannish Boys, for instance) for a few years now and this latest CD sees him paired with a Brazilian band for a fine collection of jump blues. Lynwood was asked to produce the band in Sao Paulo, but when he arrived discovered that they also wanted him to sing! The resulting album is a genuine collaboration between the American and the young Brazilian band who easily demonstrate their mastery of their instruments and the style of music they are seeking to capture. Frankly, without knowing who the players are one would immediately think of West Coast USA rather than Brazil.

The Igor Prado band consists of Igor on guitar, brother Yuri on drums, Rodrigo Mantovani on acoustic bass, Donny Nichilo on piano and Denilson Martins on all manner of saxes. Lynwood Slim plays harp (and flute on one track) as well as singing. The band are all young, from 20 – 24, but play like veterans. They have backed a number of well-known visiting bluesmen, including Eddie C Campbell, Phil Guy, RJ Mischo, Mud Morganfield, Rick Estrin, Mark Hummel and Mitch Kashmar. The material is a mixture of covers and originals. Lynwood contributes three tracks, one in collaboration with Igor Prado who also provides two solo original tunes. Covers come from a wide variety of sources: Little Walter, Junior Wells/Buddy Guy, Dave Bartholomew, to name a few.

The album opens strongly with Junior Wells’ and Buddy Guy’s “Shake It Baby” which has almost a James Brown feel to it! Lynwood plays flute in the coda, against some good sax playing. “Is It True?” is the Dave Bartholomew tune and chugs away nicely with strong guitar playing and an excellent piano solo on the outro. “Bloodshot Eyes” is a classic jump blues tune, covered by many over the years but originally written by (and a Western Swing hit for) Hank Penny in the 1950s. The sax takes a good solo before a plucked guitar solo from Igor. “My Hat’s On The Side Of My Head” is a 30s song written by Tin Pan Alley composer Harry Woods and completes an opening quartet of material written outside the band.

Next up is the first Igor Prado original, an instrumental entitled “Blue Bop”. This is a fast-paced, jazzy number that would not have been out of place in a jump band of the 40s or 50s, even down to a frenetic sax solo. Having taken a short break during that number, Lynwood returns to the microphone for a cover of Little Walter’s “Little Girl”, taken at a relaxed pace and affording plenty of opportunity for Lynwood to stretch out on harp. “I Sat And Cried”, written by Jimmy “T99” Nelson, is a relaxed toe tapper, again very much a 50’s sound, with the sax underpinning the chorus attractively. “Maybe Someday” opens with the sort of tune and instrumentation that makes you think it is a ballad from the great days of jazz bands. It is, however, a Lynwood original (under his real name Richard Duran) and the sort of performance that will appeal to lovers of artists like Sugar Ray Norcia at his most laid back.

“Show Me The Way” is another Lynwood original and, for me, one of the strongest tunes on the album, with Lynwood’s harp and vocals leading the band on a mid tempo number that makes you snap your fingers along with the beat. “Bill’s Change” is another Igor Prado instrumental, again venturing on to the jazzy side of things. Very nice ensemble playing here, the sax sitting well beneath the plucked guitar before coming ‘out front’ to solo on tenor. The guitar and sax then exchange choruses to the close.

“The Comeback”, written by CL Frazier, is probably best known from Roomful Of Blues’ version but the band do a really good job on the song. Lynwood’s vocal is relaxed but conveys the song very well and one has to pay tribute to sax player Denilson Martins who gives the song a far bigger sound than one might expect from a small band. “The Way You Do” is a song by Jimmy Nolen which also reminds me of Roomful (though I am not sure that they have covered it). The final track is a stomping harp-driven instrumental entitled “Going To Mona Lisa’s” where it sounds like a good time was had by all! Emphatic drums, foot-tapping bass and strong harp work are the main features here which is a little surprising as it is the sole collaboration between Lynwood and Igor but the guitar is not really featured at all.

This is an enjoyable CD, strongly recommended to those who enjoy a touch of jazz/big band feel in their blues.

Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. He recently attended the Blues Blast Awards in Chicago and had a great time! Back in the USA for the January 2011 Blues Cruise!

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