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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.

Throughout, the 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.

 

 

 

 

WB BLUES

PEOPLE GET READY

THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME BE MYSELF

EASY

CHAIN OF FOOLS

THE CLOSER I GET TO YOU

HOUSE OF WAYNE

ON MY OWN

US FUNK & G

SHADES OF MIDNIGHT

RIVER BEND SHUFFLE

 

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