When you’re talking
about vintage soul-jazz credits, they don’t get much better than
those of high-powered guitarist Wayne Boyd, featured sideman to
Hammond B-3 master Jimmy McGriff for nearly three decades.
One of the true
pioneers of the soul-jazz Hammond B-3 sound, McGriff’s long
career has been distinguished by his bluesy approach and his
penchant for transforming R&B and popular hits into soul-jazz
masterpieces, two characteristics Wayne Boyd also favors on his
solo debut outing.
And he’s got top-notch
musical talent accompanying him, including drummer Herlin Riley,
a New Orleans native and long-time member of Lincoln Center Jazz
Orchestra, and Richard Knox, a New Orleans keyboard wizard and
mainstay of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band’s 1990s funk unit.
Following a bluesy
warm-up, the trio burns through a quartet of Top Ten melodies,
including “People Get Ready,” “Thank You For Letting Me Be
Myself Again,” “Easy” (on which Boyd provides smooth-as-silk
vocals), and “Chain of Fools,” during which the band improvises
right up to the fiery edge of out-and-out, screaming R&B.
A series of standards
and originals follows (check out especially “US Funk & G” with
its hip-shaking dance-floor rhythm), and the outing is capped
off by pair of original compositions honoring Hank Crawford, the
Ray Charles altoist and music director with whom McGriff and
Boyd cut a pair of mid-1990s albums.
guitarist and leader demonstrates a nimble but aggressive attack
on the amplified strings of his full-bodied guitar, leading the
way with full authority and making this an unusually hot and
inspired example of classic soul-jazz improvisation.