Buck Hill & Darrell Nulisch

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Buck Hill & Darrell Nulisch

Postby blueswriter » Tue Jun 26, 2007 7:44 pm

Buck Hill
Severn (2006) CD-0039


8 tracks, 52 minutes. Recommended. There are times when nothing is more soothing or relaxing than listening to an incredibly accomplished small jazz outfit dig into a set of blues to have fun. For those who know the effect that can have, Buck Hill is simply monumental on Relax. Buck's tenor sax buzzes and breathes with emotion, panache, depth and a tone as thick as molasses and Hill's playing has an unerring ability to communicate in ways that words can't express. The title track on this 52-minute gem could serve as the end-all explanation for anyone wishing to understand the true definition of a groove. Hill's deliciously deep blowing is matched perfectly with Jon Ozment's Hammond, Paul Pieper's smooth-as-silk blues guitar and the relentless drumming of Jerry Jones. Hill and his small-in-size-but-huge-in-approach band tackle three Miles Davis numbers with Flamenco Sketches, Prancing and Milestones all succeeding as fine personal stamps. The originals Relax, Little Bossa, Sad Ones and R.H. are peppered bouncing head arrangements, well-spoken instrumental passages laced with feeling and meaning. Buck Hill has been a pretty well-kept secret for years, but with Relax he's letting it be known that he'll be heard from again - and hopefully soon. We should echo Buck's sentiments in the credits by thanking Severn's David Earl "for giving an old man a record." A fine and beautiful disc.

Darrell Nulisch
Goin' Back To Dallas
Severn (2007) CD-0041


11 tracks, 41 minutes. Highly recommended. Many who have followed the career of Darrell Nulisch from his first recordings with Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets through his numerous solo efforts have long wondered when the talented singer/harp player would return to his blues roots. Wonder no more. Goin' Back To Dallas stands tall and delivers what many have known for years: Mr. Nulisch has the bases covered. While his most recent efforts have more often displayed his abilities as an accomplished blue-eyed soul singer, Nulisch steps up and delivers a searing set of straight-ahead blues that hits the mark. He's more than convincing on the finely-crafted covers including She's My Baby, Too Young To Die, Play It Cool, Blue Monday and Come On In This House (among others), but Nulisch proves his worth with the four originals even more. The shuffling Feel Like Ramblin' showcases a ragged-but-right drunken groove, while Straight'n Up comfortably recalls both Tarheel Slim and Howlin' Wolf and both give Jon Moeller a chance to flex his muscular rhythmic chops on guitar. That's A Problem and Goin' Back To Dallas prove Nulisch and his sidemen can slow-burn with the best of them without resorting to flashy exhibits of excess and showmanship. Darrell's harp has a richness and voice all its own these days and Moeller's guitar work sizzles when he steps forward. Steve Gomes and Robb Stupka deliver the solid foundations as a sparkling in-the-pocket rhythm section and Kevin Anker's contributions on piano and organ fill in masterfully without ever getting in the way. It's been too long since Darrell Nulisch made an all-blues disc and Goin' Back To Dallas shows what's been missing. Well done!


© 2007 by Craig Ruskey
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