Amos Garrett. Now there's a name no self-respecting critic or omnivorous listener can encounter without a wistful smile, harking back to over 150 LPs with the gent's way cool fretwork (that's his one-take slay-ya-where-ya-stand solo in Maria Muldaur's Midnight at the Oasis). Makes perfect sense he'd be on the Stony Plain label, as the cat's sensibilities come from another era and have only deepened as each year has passed. I covered his mightily bitchin' trib to Percy Mayfield (here), and, though Garrett's most known for roots work, his jazz side is blissful and blue, hence the CD's sobriquet.
Lotsa instrumental work here, LOTS, y'all (only two vocal cuts), and once you get into the swing of things, you'll be lining up old Booker T, Harvey Mandel, Chet Atkins, and Hawaiian LPs for afters. Catch Garrett's do-up of Monk's Misterioso and just try telling me he couldn't make the slack key cats sweat. Every cut on the disc is live from one fest or another, and the tempo is down-lo, moody but quietly effervescent, a bit sparked up here and there, as in the Erlandson medley and the vocal portions Hoagy's imperishable Skylark, but overall content and laissez-faire lemme-do-my-thing.
Choosing a rhythm guitarist (Keith Smith) as back-up along with bass player Greg Carroll was a stroke of genius and the combo of the three shines immensely in the tropical 10:19 Little Sunflower. I'm strongly reminded of the old obscure Gabor Szabo / Louis Kabok team-ups, not that Garrett and Smith sound like Gab & Louie per se, but there's a simpatico that's meltingly delicious and filled with tangs of all sorts of backlogged influences, including a somewhat revved Albatross (from Peter Green's old Fleetwood Mac). Favorite cut? That's it, buster, but the entire release is both balm and mellowly galvanizing. Not too much, though, not too much, just enough to prompt the listener to get up, pour another margarita, and then sit back down, sipping and smiling like someone who just realized it doesn't get much better than this. As Amos himself says, "That's the shit right there!". Damned if it ain't, and I'm hoping like crazy that he favors us with a second helping in the near future.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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