Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Blind Pig Signs Big James Montgomery, appearing in Baltimore area August 31

One of the real pleasant surprises of the 2006 Pocono Blues Festival was the performance by Big James and the Chicago Playboys. James Montgomery is a big man and he has a presence as a singer and when playing his trombone as well as is backed by his fine band which adds a heafty dose of soul and funk to his blues stew. At the festival I purchased Now You Know, which was his third CD (self-released and included nice recordings of some of the songs he performed including the title track, "Chicago Is Da' Home 4 Da' Blues", "Hustler's Paradise," and Albert King's "Angel of Mercy." What a nice soulful vocal delivery he has, and his trombone along with the guitarist and other bandmembers play some interesting and funky stuff. More recently he issued Thank God I Got the Blues, that is a similarly fine effort, celebrating the blues with plenty of heart of soul.

Yesterday (August 25), I got an email from Blind Pig announcing they signed Big James. "Blind Pig Records has announced the signing of Big James & the Chicago Playboys, a brass band that combines blues, soul, R&B and funk into a rollicking, horn-drenched stage party.

The bandleader and trombone player, Big James Montgomery, who also serves as singer, songwriter, and producer for the group, sports a voice as big as his girth. This year he received his second Blues Music Award nomination as “Horn Instrumentalist” and the title track from his last solo effort, Thank God I Got The Blues, will be featured in the upcoming movie Cleaner, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Eva Mendes."

The press release also notes that Big James Montgomery is a three time winner of Living Blues magazine’s Critic’s Choice Award for “Most Outstanding Horn Player and that he will start working ona new album in November.

While I would not use the term brass band to describe his sound, I agree his horn-led band mixes blues, soul and funk for a rollicking, horn-drenched stage party that is unique in the blues today. For those in the Baltimore-Washington area he is appearing at the Baltimore Blues Society's Alonzo Memorial Picnic on Sunday August 31 at the Rosedale MD American Legion Hall. For information on that event visit the BBS website. His CDs, Thank God I Got The Blues and Thank God I Got The Blues are available at cdbaby.com.

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