One of the privileges of being a musician is that you get to work, play, and record with your friends. For this latest CD, I collaborated with extraordinary Chicago jazz and blues guitarist Joel Paterson. We started working together a few years back and we share a love for blues, jazz, and everything in between. On hand for the session were his rhythm section of Beau Sample on bass and Alex Hall on drums, as well as Pete Benson on piano and Hammond organ. Pete is an old friend and is featured as pianist of the nonet recordings on “A Walk In Time“.
Once Joel and I began to get more specific about what to record, we put together a list of tunes. We started by writing 3 originals. The “Early Bird Blues” goes back to the type of tune Sunnyland Slim—with whom I worked for two decades—would have played early in his career. “Fly Over” and “Bird Watching” pay tribute to the first Hammond organ combos.
From the same era comes “Doggin’ With Doggett,” written by Bill Doggett and featuring Illinois Jacquet on tenor sax. “Rock The House” is a raucous number by guitarist Tiny Grimes, reminiscent of my days with The Mighty Blue Kings. “Blue And Sentimental” comes from the Count Basie book, while “Solitude” and “Just Squeeze Me” are Duke Ellington standards. It was great to play the latter two big band tunes with a small combo, which allowed us to bring out more intimate flavors. “Spring’s Swing,” written by Vivian Hamilton, the wife of Ellington clarinetist and saxophonist Jimmy Hamilton, was one and LP called “Jam Session in Swingville” that my music teacher Chester Gill Introduced me to when I was in my teens. We changed the beat, and made it a feature for everyone in the band.
And lastly, a word about the two vocals tunes: I first heard “Route 66” sung by Freddie Below, the drummer of the Famous Aces. To me, it represents the feeling of traveling through this vast and open country. “In The Evening,” written by Leroy Carr, and sung on many occasions by Sunnyland Slim, is truly a classic blues.
We hope that the fun fun and joy we had in making this recording will rub off on you!
Recorded January 27, 28, 2015 at HiStyle Studio, Chicago
Engineered, mixed and mastered by Alex Hall
Graphic design and photography by Joel Paterson
Produced by Sam Burckhardt and Joel Paterson
Executive Producer Aart de Geus
released August 1, 2015
Sam Burckhardt, tenor saxophone and vocals
Joel Paterson, guitar
Pete Benson, piano and Hammond B-3 organ
Beau Sample, bass
Alex Hall, drums
Airway Records AR 4768
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