I had a feeling this was going to happen. Patrick Yandall has decided to play the blues after releasing a series of outstanding jazz releases. New York Blues is a welcome change for the guitarist and as I would expect, a fine recording straight on through. Jazz and blues are kissin' cousins and nobody knows that better than Yandall, in fact he does a great job of combining both genres at times during the run of this CD. Although I am not accustomed to hearing any vocals on a Yandall release, I found it to be a refreshing switch of the gears and he did not disappoint, offering a bevy of fine instrumental cuts as usual.
"People Get Ready" the Curtis Mayfield classic, came as a pleasant surprise, probably because I have never heard an entirely instrumental version of it. Yandall plays it beautifully and I found myself singing the words anyway so my hat is off to him for pulling that off in such a convincing fashion. I have noticed over the last several months that guitar virtuosos that lean towards playing all instrumental recordings are playing a lot of Jeff Beck material from the groundbreaking albums Blow by Blow and Wired. Both albums were light-years ahead of their time and proof that what Beck did still leaves people with their jaw dropping to floor, particularly musicians with a penchant for jazz-rock-fusion. Yandall pulls out all the stops on "Cause We Ended As Lovers," and strangely enough I find myself listening to the original version as I write this now. Music provides passionate inspiration and a great album like New York Blues had me reaching into my archives for more music of the same, not to mention having the desire to hear this album repeatedly. Another barn-burner is an Allman Brothers favorite "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed," one of the best sessions Dicky Betts ever produced. Again, Yandall does it justice.
I think the one track that really shows off his chops is "Deception Point." It runs just shy of five minutes, but every second of it is a crescendo of instruments assaulting your senses, albeit in very pleasing way. Yandall peels of some licks that are amazing on this track; he plays with style and grace and rocks the house all at the same time. Not an easy task for any player worth their salt. My favorite out of the entire lot is the mellow front porch toe tapping acoustic blues of "So Low." That one really grabbed me because of its clean playing and live feel. You can hear Patrick's fingers squeaking up and down the fret board.
This recording has a good mixture of vocal tracks and instrumentals; it is the kind of blues, rock, and jazz that offers it all for the listener. This is primarily blues however the rudiments of jazz and rock cannot be understated here, they provide plenty of juice for Mr. Yandall to do his thing, and does he ever do it well.