"SWING" is sort of a coming-out party for guitarist Duke Robillard, his first full-blooded jazz album.
Well known for the years he spent with Roomful of Blues, Robillard has always displayed an affinity for jazz, both as rhythm player and soloist. But here, surrounded by a topflight jazz band that includes saxophonist Scott Hamilton, he really gets a chance to explore the music, and the results are thoroughly entertaining.
For starters, there are plenty of good tunes. The opening track, Sid Catlett's "Cadillac Slim," swings with Basie-like ease. Everything about it -- Hamilton's breathy tenor, drummer Chuck Riggs' crisp accents, Robillard's elegant solo -- falls effortlessly into place. "Jumpin' Blues," a Kansas City riff, is just as smooth, and while Robillard possesses a rather ordinary voice, he sings this tune and a couple of others with the relaxed assurance of a pro.
Other highlights include a gritty version of "Shufflin' With Some Barbecue," a delightful return to the days of organ combos, and "Jim Jam," a vibrant guitar duet featuring Robillard and Jim Kelly. No matter where the stylus lands, though, "Swing" swings. DUKE ROBILLARD --
"Swing" (Rounder 3103). Appearing Friday with the Pleasure Kings at the Roxy.