After three decades in the recording industry, Jay Geils has released his first solo effort, Jay Geils Plays Jazz. Steeped in the traditions of classical Jazz, Blues and Swing, Geils delivers several masterful interpretations of tunes by such greats as Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Roland Kirk.
Joined by a slick rhythm section comprised of Gordon Grottenthaler on drums, John Turner on bass and Al Wilson on the keys, Plays Jazz reveals Mr. Geils as a great musician at the top of his game. Al Wilson helps to hold it all together, even throwing in some sumptuous chops off his Hammond B-3, melting all the ingredients together. Some highlights on this album include Blues Walk by Clifford Brown featuring the classy pedal steel guitar of Frankie Blandino. The interplay between Jay's guitar and Greg Piccolo's tenor sax on Roland Kirk's Funk Underneath is sublime
Jay leads the way but leaves plenty of opportunity for his colleagues to shine. Jerry Miller adds his slick electric mandolin to the mix on I Hear You Talkin' To Me and long time friends Gerry Beaudoin (Acoustic rhythm guitar) and Scott Hamilton (tenor sax) show up on a few tunes too. The horn section varies throughout the album with several other guest performers, each adding key colours to the ensemble. The fat licks piping up form the horn section on Hot Ginger really spice things up.
This is a great album for anyone who appreciates well-crafted Jazz and Blues. For those not fully acquainted with the tradition, rest assured, Jay Geils Plays Jazz will leave you with a lasting impression.