Plays the Blues
Veteran saxophonist Jimmy Carpenter is currently part of blues rocker Mike Zito's band, though he previously has lengthy stints with Jimmy Thackery and Walter 'Wolfman' Washington. Zito produced this and adds his guitar and vocals to Carpenter's tenor saxophone, bassist Bob Bridges, Matthew Johnson's drums, and Marc Adams keyboards with a variety of guests including guitarists Tony Diteodoro, Tinsley Ellis, Anders Osborne and Jonn Del Toro Richardson and keyboardists Lewis Stephens and Dave Keyes.
The ten songs heard include two originals and eight covers starting with Magic Sam's "You Belong to Me," and ending with a rousing Junior Walker's "Shotgun." Carpenter plays plenty of rousing, raspy saxophone in a Junior Walker-King Curtis--Boots Randolph vein throughout and, if not a great singer, is like-able with an unforced delivery as on the hot Little Walter shuffle "Too Late." The longest selection is "Jimmy Plays the Blues," a nice blues instrumental with plenty of space for his roadhouse saxophone. The other original is a piece of old-fashioned rock and roll, "Kid in My Head," with rollicking piano from Stephens in support of the leader's yakety-yak sax playing.
Jonn Del Toro Richardson adds some nice guitar support on the cover of "Blues With a Feeling," which has a booting sax solo as well, while Tinsley Ellis joins in for a musical dialogue with with Carpenter on a rendition of Freddie King's "Surf Monkey," and Anders Osborne contributes to an instrumental interpretation of Sam Cooke's "Change Is Gonna Come," which arguably has Carpenter's finest playing with a more attack employing a broader tonal range. Up next is a rousing rendition of King Curtis' "Preach," and then Otis Rush's "All Your Love (I Miss Lovin').' with fine guitar from Zito and another booting sax solo.
A straight cover of "Shotgun" closes this straight-forward, well played recording that entertains even if it breaks no new ground.
I received my review copy from VizzTone. This review originally appeared in the November-December 2017 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 375). Here is Jimmy Carpenter playing "Shot Gun."