Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Wallace Coleman's Lively Harmonica Blues

I first saw Wallace Coleman playing with the late Robert Lockwood, Jr., and had the pleasure of seeing him with that late legend as well as leading his own groups over the years. The following review appeared in the the September/October 2002 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 259). I am not sure if I received a review copy from the publication or purchased this. 

Wallace Coleman was part of Robert Lockwood Jr.’s band through the sixties and until recently where his Little Walter inspired harp was a delight to those who caught him with Lockwood. His new album is Live at Joe’s (Pinto Blue), a recording done live in the studio, not a club. 

Wallace Coleman at 2012 Pennsylvania Blues
Festival. Photo © Ron Weinstock
The band provides a steady, swinging foundation. The guitarists get their solo spots but their playing does not intrude when Coleman is in the fore. Nothing startlingly original here perhaps, but Coleman and band do a solid job in evoking the classic Chicago blues sound which will appeal to those who love that sound.There is nothing fancy about the music here as Coleman displays his stylistic indebtedness to Walter on a program of mostly classic blues including JukeOne More Chance With You, and Tell Me Mama, as well as songs associated with Jimmy Rogers, You’re the One and My Last Meal, and Muddy Waters’ Young Fashioned Ways. Throw in a few originals including the slow Hard Life with some nice chromatic harp playing and the jazzy Love Spell, and one gets a nicely sung and played set of performances that are centered on Coleman’s very likeable, unforced vocals and fluid harp playing. 

Here is Wallace Coleman in performance.

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