The Soul Of John Black

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The Soul Of John Black

Postby blueswriter » Thu May 07, 2009 9:49 pm

The Soul Of John Black
Black John
Eclecto Groove (2009) EGR CD 504

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12 tracks, 48 minutes. Highly recommended. If you're wondering who Black John is, you're not alone. However, there's a strong chance you've heard his work somewhere along your path. John Bigham, JB, or John Black penned songs and played for Miles Davis, and also worked with a diverse number of others including Fishbone, Dr. Dré, Eminem and Bruce Hornsby. His maiden voyage for Delta Groove's offshoot label, Eclecto Groove, proves a masterful effort that blends the earthy elements of blues along with finger-snapping R&B and the sophistication of vintage Southern soul. But comparisons to legendary names won't do justice to this artist's approach - he's as much a true musical individual as he is a brilliant songwriter, arranger and producer. There's a definite sense of streetwise swagger and violence in Black John, and the sexual tensions apparent in both Betty Jean and the crafty Bottom Chick to wrap your ears around. And when you think you've got JB's style nailed down, he surprises you with a Delta Blues opening in Forever before the song morphs into a sweet piece of soul candy for your appetite. You'll invariably try again to pigeon-hole this cat and you'll fail a second, third and fourth time. Maybe the message will slap you upside your head when you check out White Dress with its off-kilter rhythms. He's truly one of a kind. And as a guitarist, JB is an astounding and accomplished player, but one who willingly opts for a minimalist approach. His abilities aren't on display in the form of solos. Instead, his instrument becomes a vital layer in the production of a wonderful and well-planned recording. This soulful spirit has influences to rely on, but what's most evident is his brilliance with thoughtful lyrics, a voice from the heavens and an amazing gift to meld everything together into a wonderful recipe called music. Hats off to Randy Chortkoff and the staff at Delta Groove/Eclecto Groove for the consistent delivery of superb artists and their projects. Simply incredible.

Delta Groove

© 2009 by Craig Ruskey
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