Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters - Spread the Love (Stony Plain, 2010)

Guitarist Ronnie Earl is a longtime fixture on the modern blues scene playing a classy brand of roots music with his band The Broadcasters. With this album they meld the blues with jazz to create a nice all-instrumental hybrid of the two great American musics. His backup band consists of David Limina on organ and piano, Jim Moradian on bass and Lorne Endress on drums. He covers a couple of well known jazz compositions, beginning with Kenny Burrell's "Chitlins Con Carne" originally recorded on Burrell's wonderful Midnight Blue LP, and Duke Pearson's "Christo Redentor" which is well know in blues circles through harmonica virtuoso Charlie Musslewhite's version. Their brand of jazz is subtle and well done with the bass and drums developing a nice pocket for Earl to craft a subtle improvisation over while Limina adds texture and shading. He digs deep into the uptempo blues as well, with the wonderful "Spann's Groove," dedicated to the great blued pianist Otis Spann. The band lock in with some deeply thoughtful interplay, featuring Limina's rippling piano. Also of note are the album's leadoff track, "Backstroke" which comes out of the gate strong with an excellent quartet performance headlined by stinging guitar work. This well rounded and lengthy disc should appeal to fans of subtle blues guitar, and ensemble work. Limini in particular was excellent on organ, adding riffs and commentary to the ensemble and backing passages and soloing well. Jazz sprang forth from the wellspring of the blues and the two musics still mesh very well together. this album works quite well and should appeal to fans of both genres. Spread the Love -

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