Some know I edit and do layout of the DC Blues Society's newsletter. I also have been writing on and off for Jazz and Blues Report which originally started in the 1970s as the Buffalo Jazz Report and subsequently relocated in Cleveland. I recently had the pleasure of writing a review of a new album by singer Ernie Andrews on High Note, labeled "How About Me."
Andrews has had quite a career dating back to the Central Avenue scene in Los Angeles of the forties (he first recorded in 1947 when 17 with Red Callendar's band). This album is a tribute to the singers and the songs of the forties and fifties with PercyMayfield's "The River's Invitation," and the standard, "The More I See You," perhaps the most familiar songs. For most of you a reference point might be the late Joe Williams (the Basie vocalist, not Big Joe) although Billy Eckstine is an influence as was the late Billy Daniels. Four of the songs are from Eckstine's repertoire or recordings, the most notable one being the wonderful Leonard Feather number, "She's Got the Blues For Sale," that would seem ripe for someone reviving it today. There is also a real nice rendition of Eddie Boyd's "Vacation from the Blues." Andrews reminds me of Williams and Witherspoon with the authority he brings to the blues. The wonderful backing band includes the marvelous tenor saxophonist Houston Person, who always shines backing up great singers like Mr. Andrews with his tone and lyrical playing. The band also includes pianist Phil Wright, guitarist Terry Evans, bassist Richard Simon and drummer Frank Wilson. To fans of Duke Robillard's swing recordings and productions with Jay McShann, I would certainly recommend this as its in a similar vein to Duke's recent swing oriented efforts.