Taste and range are also the watchwords for Duke Robillard, a guitarist who is reckoned to be able to ape just about any blues style. A founding member of the long-running and ever-changing jump jazz combo Roomful of Blues, Robillard has, since leaving the New England band, forged a highly successful solo career and even done a stint in Texas's Fabulous Thunderbirds. But throughout he has burned a candle for the late, great T-Bone Walker, and the influence is there on much of the retrospective Duke Robillard Plays Blues just released by Rounder Records. And though he is more than a mere revivalist, the fluid string bending and classy arrangements featuring plenty of old-fashioned horns are also well to the fore on Dangerous Place, the latest release on his current label, Pointblank.
But in a year that has seen a few sought-after boxed sets, it is going to be hard to beat Rhino's effort on the 1956-61 Atlantic recordings of Charles Mingus. Of course, albums such as Pithecanthropus Erectus and Oh Yeah are pretty close to "must-have" records on their own. But in keeping with Atlantic's acute sense of heritage, this is more than just a collection of seminal recordings. It is a lavishly-produced package of six CDs (the last being an interview with Mingus by Atlantic co-founder Nesuhi Ertegun) and a highly informative booklet that more than lives up to the title Passions of a Man.Reuse content