AL BASILE: WORDS & MUSIc
REVIEWS ARCHIVE - FULL TEXT

THE GOODS - AL BASILE

BLUES REVUE - Michael Cote


Great songwriting is in short supply, and, dare we say it, especially in the blues, where too often virtuosity takes center stage and songs get the short shrift. You'll find no recycled mediocrity in the work of Al Basile. On his eighth recording as a leader, the former Roomful of Blues cornet player continues to demonstrate his strength as a singer and songwriter. The disc starts off strong with "The Price (I Got to Pay)," an anthem for anyone who dares to make their living doing what they love, and the punchy and lyrically cryptic "Along Come the Kid."

But it's track three that gives you goose bumps. With backing from the Blind Boys of Alabama on vocals, Basile has crafted a gospel blues classic in "Lie Down in Darkness (Raise Up in Light)." The performance and the message have that universal appeal, digging deep and soulful. BY contrast, the next song, "1.843 Million," is pure fun, a first-person narrative Basile says is about "a doomed character's last car chase." Producer Duke Robillard's screaming guitar leads give the track the film noir feel that inspired Basile's song.

On the soul ballad "Time Can Wait," Basile sings about love from the perspective of someone who has been around long enough to have earned a few scars along the way. Basile switches gears again on the next track, giving a New Orleans vibe to the playful "I Want to Put It There," a song packed with double entendres and punctuated with an old-school plunger cornet solo. After "The Itch," a novelty song about nothing more than what the title described, it would be easy to mistake "Mr. Graham Bell" as just a slow blues about the telephone, but it gets gritty toward the end as Basile sings about the bad news - deaths of loved ones - that some calls can bring.

Even "She's a Taker," which could easily fall to the stereotypical "bad woman blues," has complexity in its lyrical bent as the narrator attempts to understand why someone might be treating him poorly. Basile simply isn't satisfied with the easy answers, which makes The Goods such a joy.




Beale St. Belgium


Al Basile

The Goods 

Met dank aan Duke Robillard en The Blind Boys of Alabama Thanks to Duke Robillard and The Blind Boys of Alabama

Website: www.albasile.com Website: www.albasile.com

Al Basile wordt ook wel eens “The Bard of Blues” genoemd. Al Basile is also called "The Bard of Blues" called. Dichter, muziekkant, zanger, en schrijver van zijn liedjes, hij is het allemaal. Poet, music side, singer, and writer of his songs, it is everything. Vooral de dichter in hem heeft zo zijn invloeden in de teksten die hij schrijft. Especially the poet in him has its influences in the texts he writes.
In 1998, hij gaf nog les in die tijd, richtte hij zijn eigen platenlabel op Sweetsport Records, eigenlijk omdat hij niemand kon vinden die de songs die hij geschreven had kon vertolken. In 1998, he gave another lesson in that time, he founded his own record label Sweet Records Sports, basically because he could find no one who had written the songs that he could perform. Er zaten wat veel stijlverschillen in die je niet aan één persoon kon vastpinnen behalve dan aan deze die ze geschreven had. There were some great differences in style that you could not pin a person except to those who had written them. Vandaar. Hence.



The Goods is ondertussen zijn 8 ste cd. The Goods is now his 8th CD. Uniek ook is dat Duke Robillard aan alle cd's heeft meegewerkt als producer en als muziekkant. Duke Robillard also unique is that all the CD's producer and has worked as a musical side. Speciaal is ook het instrument dat Al bespeelt nl. de Cornet, een soort trompet. Special is the tool that Al plays the cornet namely, a sort of trumpet. In 2010 was hij nog genomineerd voor de BMA op dit instrument. In 2010 he was nominated for the BMA on this instrument.
Er zijn twee songs die boven het normale uitsteken: “Lie Down in Darkness(Raise Up The Loght) en “Time Can Wait”. There are two songs that protrude above the normal: "Lie Down in Darkness (Raise Up The Loght) and" Time Can Wait ". Een zeer mooie tekst. A very nice text. Ook getuigen de solo's die hij speelt van heel veel gevoel voor het instrument als voor de song zelf. Also witness the solos that he plays a lot of feeling for the instrument as the song itself. Ook speciaal is het einde van 1.843 Million. Also special is the end of 1843 Million.
13 songs in totaal die je laten wegdromen. 13 songs in total that will make you dream. Hier en daar wat Jazz invloeden en R&B, maken van deze cd een juweel dat zeker in je muzikale kast moet staan. Here and there some jazz and R & B influences, make this CD a gem that is sure to stand in your musical closet. Onbekend is on bemind, en wij gaan dat veranderen. Unknown on loved, and we're going to change that. (JePe) (JePe)



Boston Blues Society


By Lady K
June 2011

This CD is, a bit, about old friends getting together and making some blues music, with plenty of soul and a touch of gospel added to the mix. The Goods is music that combines lyrics written by a published poet, vocalized by a professional singer, and accompanied by killer coronet solo’s – all accomplished by just one man, named Al Basile whose old friends would be none other than guitar-hero, Duke Robillard and sax-man, Doug James (on tenor and baritone sax, bass clarinet and piccolo) - all three are original members of Roomful of Blues. AND the band backing up this dazzling array of big names is Duke’s own, Grammy-nominated Duke Robillard Band (Brad Halen on bass, Bruce Bears on keyboards, and Mark Teixeira on drums, congas, percussion). AND, the Grammy award winning Blind Boys of Alabama, providing magical back-up vocals on the wonderful gospel tune, “Lie Down in Darkness (Raise Up in Light).” AND just to keep it all in the family (so to speak), Duke Robillard produced this CD.

Having dropped all the big-time names, you should know that “The Goods” does, in fact, deliver the goods!!! “The Price (I Got to Pay)” kinda says it all – he HAS to play his horn, and HAS to sing, and HAS to earn enough money so that he can keep playing and singing. Trying to stay ahead of the game, and ending up one-step behind – more so during these days of economical crisis. “1.843 Million” is a unique rockin’ blues tune about a bank-robbery gone wrong – if, of course, you consider not being able to get away from the black and whites, and not having time to spend the $1.843 million purse – going wrong.

Time Can Wait” is a groovin’ slow R&B tune – a love song – man to woman; questioning whether falling in love is only for the young. With some expressive help from Duke’s guitar, man decides that love can come anytime, and it’s “never too late;” time can wait. In addition to the love tune, there are some fun songs that just feel like NOLA, with that party sound and the hint of a Latin tempo – pass the beads and get ready to dance and laugh – these tunes: “I Want to Put it There” and “Don’t Sleep On Santa,” are FUNNY!!.

Basically, you could take the liner notes from “The Goods” and, WITHOUT the music, you’ve got a little book of funny poems. WITH Al’s coronet, the great blues that the band adds, and the vocals, you’ve got a CD chock full of blues, R&B and funky fun.


Full-TimeBlues


A frequently published poet nicknamed "the bard of the blues," Al Basile is widely heralded as one of the great lyricists of the time. So, that said, being such a lover of lyrics, it's a shame I never discovered Al Basile until this disc landed in my mailbox. The songs throughout The Goods certainly play out like miniature films, as stories unfold in every one of them. Basile enlisted the help of friend and Bluesman Duke Robillard to produce the album. Duke adds his signature guitars on the record, as well.

The Goods is the eighth album from Al Basile since he came on the scene with 2001's Shaking The Soul Tree. Basile has proved to be one of the most prolific artists out there, Blues or otherwise, releasing an album nearly every year since that debut CD. 2002, 2007, and 2010 did not see releases hit store shelves by Basile, although depending which source you're looking up, some credit The Goods as a 2010 release because of its copyright. The album actually went on sale in first quarter 2011, but "now we're haggling over a few cents."

The Goods begins with "The Price (I Got to Pay)," and it's right off the bat you get a taste of Basile's signature mixture of Soul and Blues. Gospel elements come in later, and we'll get to that, but the opening number goes back to the days when the Motown sound dominated the airwaves. Right away, I must add, the mixing is absolutely perfect. There's a place for everything, and everything's in it's place. You can actually hear each individual element in the song, and mentally single them out one by one. Whether it's the bass line from Brad Hellen, Bruce Bears' organ swells, the horn arrangements, or Duke's rhythm guitar - it all fits together perfectly. Basile mentions in the liner notes that he actually wrote "The Price (I Got to Pay)" for Robillard, and adjusted simply one word to fit the song to his own life - changing "guitar" to "horn."

Duke's guitar crunches along on "Along Come the Kid," a song that Basile hints at, but never fully discloses, discusses the arrival of a child. That's followed by the aforementioned Gospel tinged number "Lie Down In Darkness (Raise Up In Light)." This standout number features the vocals of the great Blind Boys of Alabama, who in my opinion are a national treasure. Amongst all of the wonderful lyrics and vocal efforts lie back-to-back solos from Basile on cornet and Robillard on guitar. You really feel the power of the spirit as this song enters its latter stages.

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"1.843 Million" kicks off with the sound of squealing tires and revving motor, then it gets off and running. This is a cool tune that conjures images of films like Bullitt and Vanishing Point, great car chase sequences and cool drivers. It's a heist tune that provides the perfect example of Basile's cinematic songwriting. The press material calls it "blues noir," and I think that's a fair assessment. Add to that the killer Memphis sound that the band captures and you're left with one of the best songs on the album. If "1.843 Million" captures the uptempo Memphis groove, the follower - "Time Can Wait" - bears the torch of the great Soul ballads. I love the horn arrangements here.

"I Want to Put It There" is a New Orleans influenced Blues packed with suggestive, double entendre packed lyrics. Listen for the pair of solos that Basile lays down here, one of which features the plunger for effect. That's followed by "The Itch," a tune that I crack up over when I hear Basile's explanation of how it was written. As the story goes, Al actually woke up at 3:45 one morning itching all over and ran to the kitchen to begin writing this song! How's that for inspiration? Basile notes in the booklet that the itch was gone by the time he finished writing the song.

"Mr. Graham Bell" is the album's longest number, clocking in over nine minutes. This is a great Blues tune, a lament over the accursed invention that causes us aggrivation each time a bill collector, telemarketer or ex-lover calls us up. The piano here is superb, and give a call to Bruce Bears for the job he does, this is beautiful stuff. Mark Teixeira's drumming is on point, too, and continues right on through to "She's A Taker." I really dig the vocals on this one, as well.

"Reality Show" seems like a song that could easily be found on a comedy record. The song is actually a heart breaker for Basile, though. It's a tune about a young woman who can only find love in front of a camera, lacking any real element of emotion or realism. Al explained in the album's notes that he fears an entire generation may have grown up like this, between reality television and pornography. The song's not preachy, though, by any means, and is incredibly well written and clever; and the playing is on par with the rest of the tracks found throughout The Goods.

"Pealing Bells" is another Gospel number that is built off of the heartbeat rhythm of Teixeira's drumming and Hellen's bass. Al notes, though, that whether or not the listner hears it as a religious number is really at their discretion, as he wrote it vaguely enough that the lyrics could be interpreted either way. At about the two minute mark, the song kind of morphs into a New Orleans funeral march style tune, complete with Basile's incredible cornet solo and Teixeira's added tambourine.

It's interesting to have a Christmas Blues dropped in amongst all of the others on The Goods, but as all of the greats go, it's a song that stands up, regardless of the season. Al describes it as "Christmas New Orleans style," but in my opinion, there's a bit of a Latin element to it, with the combination of Basile's guiro playing on the track and Teixeira's percussion. Think about what it may sound like if Santana recorded a Christmas tune and you may be able to describe this one.

The Goods wraps with "Distant Ships," yet another slice of Al Basile's great songwriting ability. It's a nice number that eases the album home, sending the listener drifting on their way. Basile and Duke Robillard's shared solo sounds so sweet.




THE GOODS

2011, Sweetspot

 

While the Cornet has a well established place in Jazz and occasionally finds its way into the blues as part of a horn section, it seldom gets featured as the main counter-point to the guitar as the lead instrument. East Coast horn man Al Basile has worked tirelessly to change that. On this, his eighth solo disc since leaving the original line up of Roomful of Blues in the mid-70’s, Basile continues to make the case for the Cornet as a peer of every other instrument that finds its way to the blues bandstand. Jumping in where a sax or harp would normally appear, Basile uses his Cornet to add a brassy texture to the 13 originals featured here. As well as that works, it isn’t really the whole story here. In fact, as with his past discs, it is Basile’s strong skills as a writer that carries the day. Flexing his master’s degree in creative writing and his long tenure as a poet and teacher, Basile, has crafted compelling tales of love stopping the clock of time, Time Can Wait, the scourge of the telephone, Mr. Graham Bell, a bank robbery gone way bad, 1.843 Million, a lust that can’t be cured, The Itch, and a one way woman, She’s A Taker. Despite his high brow credentials, Basile has no trouble taking a trip down the traditional blues path with some witty double entendre songs including Don’t Sleep on Santa and I Want to Put it There. Nasty! Most of material here would fit nicely on a Tower of Power disc with hot- wired horn charts and soul blues grooves compliments of the Duke Robillard Band. Lie Down in Darkness (Raise Up In Light) follows a different path with The Blind Boys of Alabama adding their gospel touch to the proceedings. If you haven’t taken the plunge, it’s time to take a break from the Little Walter and Eddie Shaw wannabes and add some brass to your life. With great charts, strong songwriting and expert delivery, there probably isn’t a better place to start than with this disc.

 

(C) 2010, Mark Smith

BluesSource.com







DR. BLUES CD REVIEWS – 6/4/11


 

The Goods-Al Basile         Sweetspot     9142     2011

 

The heart of the Roomful of Blues horns, Al Basile has blown his big horn and sang a winner that pulses with pure energy. Al swings like a 20 lb. mallet, delivers Stax R&B like an oldtimer and funks with hard edged and honed chops. Besides that, Al is a raconteur and observer of the human condition be it via poetry or blues and he says things succinctly and tight. Joined by the Blind Boys, “Lie Down In Darkness (Raise Up In Light)” can be savored on many levels and the desperate energy of “1.843 Million” revs like the subject anti-hero’s souped up last chariot. Double entendre flows out of “I Want To Put It There” and “The Itch” scratches you just there. The disk is backed by Duke Robillard’s band and produced by the man too. Al blows sweet, sings smooth and the R&B and Blues flow with style.    8 snaves





 Blues Blast Magazine – June 3, 2011

Al Basile - The Goods

Sweetspot Records

HYPERLINK "http://www.albasile.com" \t "_blank" www.albasile.com

Time-63:20

Former Roomful Of Blues cornet player Al Basile puts a 40s-50s hipster vibe into his music, while still sounding fresh and up-to-date. The cover photos of Al looking like a Capone-era gangster add to the mystique. Presented here is a mélange of blues and R&B featuring Al’s clear and strong voice, as well as tuneful cornet solos. He also joins Doug James creating a horn section that punctuates many of the tunes. The entire record is penned by the leader himself. There is a story-telling quality to the his self-written songs. As if Al’s talent wasn’t enough, former Roomful band-mate Duke Robillard lends his band and impressive production and guitar skills to the blend as extra insurance. The record is a mix of blues, R&B and gospel influences. Fast-paced and slower fare are both executed with equal finesse. He works his cornet into the mix with ease, be it a ringing melody or some muted riffing.

The lyrical content speaks to everyday life conditions, be it struggling to keep afloat financially, love troubles, reality TV or Santa. “The Price (I Got To Pay)” decries the narrator’s money woes to an upbeat R&B horn section. “Along Comes The Kid” weaves a tale of a hipster. Duke embellishes this song with a guitar solo that cuts through the night. A bank robber’s last and fatal bank robbery is retold in “1.843 Million” a song that benefits from Robillard’s guitar that bespeaks the urgency of the situation. Bell-like cornet appears in the gospel-flavored ballad “Lie Down In Darkness(Raise Up In Light)” that gets the rock-solid backing of The Blind Boys Of Alabama. Al even makes a Christmas tune work. “Don’t Sleep On Santa” refers to not falling asleep on Santa’s arrival, and not my first shutter take on the title. Piccolo, muted cornet and snappy percussion lend the atmosphere of a bebop tune of years gone by. A New Orleans funeral-dirge vibe is skillfully created with cornet and the required percussion on “Pealing Bells”, a plea for love.

A few weaker tracks aside, this is a well thought-out undertaking showing expert craftsmanship. Instrumental and lyrical nuances make for one satisfying listening experience. Mr. Basile has found a somewhat unique niche for himself that should please a large segment of the blues-minded audience. Duke Robillard and band mates provide a strong base for Al to construct his vision..

Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta. He is the proprietor of Bluesdog’s Doghouse at HYPERLINK "http://bluesdog61.multiply.com" \t "_blank"





Al Basile
The Goods

The Goods - al basile 

Al Basile’s eighth and latest release, The Goods, is a collection of crafty blues tracks, mostly well done, but leave me wishing for something more.

Basile, who holds a Master’s degree from Brown University in Creative Writing, penned all 14 songs in this collection, and sings lead on each track. Accompanying arrangements are led by fellow Rhode Island legend and award-winning blues guitarist Duke Robillard, and are well suited to sustain Basile’s straightforward tales. 

Basile’s vocals on these tracks are competent, but lack the ability to stand firm on their own. Lead track “The Price (I Got to Pay)” is the principle example of the less-than-stellar vocals on the entire set. 

Track three, however, “Lie Down in Darkness (Raise Up in Light)” presents Basile’s best vocalizations and treats us to the sole gem of this CD. Backed by the reverent vocals of Blind Boys of Alabama, Basile's voice appears to take on a wider range and sounds more pleasant than on the remaining tracks. This spirited harmony also provides accent for the song’s lyrics and colors its narrative. This piece shines in its entirety.

The remaining tracks’ lyrics are more reflective than those of many other artists, but are not as fortunate to have the help of the Blind Boys’ gospel infused chorus. However, the arrangements do provide a strong backdrop.

Don’t Sleep on Santa,” an off-season Christmas song, is a pleasant surprise that is more than welcome on my ‘Holiday’ playlist. “Distant Ships,” an affable and fitting creation for an artist from “The Ocean State” transports me to places such as Beavertail Point and draws the image of blips on the horizon from this beautiful, rocky tip in the center of the mouth of Narragansett Bay. I am grateful for the free transportation this song provides to one my most favorite places on earth.

I love a great song as much as anyone. For me, the more lyrical a song is the better. Possessing a Master’s degree does not leave one bound to write Broadway-style lyrics. But I crave great melodies as much as I do great prose, and the latter is far too scarce in most contemporary music. It is hard to find accomplished authors who are also talented musicians, and harder still for me to level my expectations when I manage to come upon such a person as Basile.

For all my dreaming of richness in sound and story, and the disappointment that The Goods is less colorful than my dreams envision, I too am a Rhode Islander and I would be happy to cross these sounds live at a local venue. I just hope there is room for me on the dance floor.

 


 

Key Tracks- Lie Down in Darkness (Raise Up in Light), Distant Ships, 1.843 Million

 

Bob Mattera - MuzikReviews.com Contributor

 

May 19, 2011



Chicago Sun-Times

Al Basile, “The Goods”
(Sweetspot) ★★★½





Roomful of Blues co-founder Al Basile has flourished away from the constraints of his old jump-blues combo, although he has retained a mighty ally in Roomful mate Duke Robillard, who produced “The Goods” and trades tasteful, understated guitar riffs with Basile’s cornet. This material is all about the arrangements, and Basile and saxophonist Doug James team up to create some terrific horn charts that make “The Goods” stand out from other attempts to fuse jazz with R&B. This isn’t music to swing your partner around the living room with, but more soulful, satisfying sounds. The centerpiece, “Lie Down in Darkness (Raise Up in Light”), features the Blind Boys of Alabama on backing vocals.

Jeff Johnson





Luxury Experience

Bluesman extraordinaire Al Basile clearly delivers on his eighth release, Al Basile - The Goods. Joined by an impressive team of Duke Robillard, Brad Hellen, Bruce Bears, Mark Teixeira, Doug James, and The Blind Boys of Alabama - Jimmy Carter, Ben Moore, Joey Williams, Billy Bowers - Al Basile - The Goods will have blues lovers' scrambling to pick up a copy to add to their collections.

 

 

Al Basile - The Goods  

Al Basile - The Goods: The Price(I Got to Pay), Along Come the Kid, Lie Down in Darkness (Raise Up in Light), 1.843 Million, Time Can Wait, I Want to Put it There, The Itch, Mr. Graham Bell, She's a Taker, Reality Show, Pealing Bells, Don't Sleep on Santa, Distant Ships   

Personnel: Al Basile - vocals, cornet, guiro on Don't Sleep on Santa; Duke Robillard - guitars; Brad Hallen - bass, Bruce Bears - keyboards; Mark Teixeira - drums, congas, percussion; Doug James - tenor and baritone sax, bass clarinet, piccolo on Don't Sleep on Santa; The Blind Boys of Alabama (Jimmy Carter, Ben Moore, Joey Williams, and Billy Bowers) - background vocals on Lie Down in Darkness (Raise Up in Light; horn arrangements by Doug James and Al Basile; vocal arrangement by Joey Williams on Lie Down in Darkness (Raise Up in Light)   

Al Basile - The Goods was produced by Duke Robillard on the Sweetspot Records label.   

Al Basile - The Goods opens with the track The Price (I Got to Pay), which is a tribute to Al's friend, Duke Robillard, which he "originally wrote (this) for Duke, but it was easy to substitute "horn" for "guitar" in the lyric, and while I don't play in front of people every night as the song says, the rest of the lyric captures the attitude - we do pay a price to stay free to play and sing what we want. But willingly." The song captures the dilemma of freedom to play balanced with money to make with his lyrics, "I got places - I got to go, I got people - I have to see, and there's money - I got to make, if I don't - they won't let me be, I just don't know what's in store, so I guess I better make some more, cause there's a price I got to pay - if I want to stay free."   

Al introduces his track 1.843 Million in his liner notes writing, "I've been re-watching a lot of film noir lately, and this song boils a doomed character's last car chase down to several minutes of musical mayhem in the first person. It was Duke's idea to take the song into the minor on the outro, and we dressed it up with some squealing tires, police sirens, and gunfire to punctuate the grim (and inevitable) denouement. I love to write and sing characters who aren't like me - it's cheaper than going to (or writing for) the theatre."   

Lie Down in Darkness (Raise Up in Light) is an inspiring song where hope reigns and features backing vocals by The Blind Boys of Alabama. Al writes, "Working with The Blind Boys of Alabama was one of the great experiences of my life - I'm grateful that they found the song appropriate for them. It uses natural imagery and is spiritually uplifting, but isn't overtly religious though the lyrics may be heard that way. I got the idea for the answering voice on the outro in a Memphis hotel room, where I was staying during the Blues Music Awards. I'll take a good idea over an award any day."   

Al has fun and gets down and playful, with the track, I Want to Put it There, with his opening lyrics, "Can't you hear my bull dog barkin', cooped up in the house all day, if you want to see some happy tail waggin', let ‘im in your yard to play." He writes that this is "double-entendre blues, New Orleans style. I don't even own a dog. It was fun playing a plunger solo and an open solo over that groove, though."   

Time Can Wait is another catchy tune that dispels the myth that time cannot wait. When love comes around, grab it any age. His lyrics proclaim, "They say time waits for no man, and that's been a problem since time began, That worn-out story keeps getting' told, of how the young get old and the old get cold, Seems like that tide keeps rollin' in, and time marches over me and back again, But I'm here to say it's not too late, When it comes to you darling, time can wait."   

Al Basile writes with tongue-in-cheek and a twinkle in his eye on Don't Sleep on Santa; and closes out the album with Distant Ships, a song about missed opportunities and the "what-ifs" of life. Other tracks rounding out the album include Along Come the Kid, The Itch, Mr. Graham Bell, She's a Taker, Reality Show, and Pealing Bells.   

As always, Al delivers what he promises on Al Basile - The Goods.   

Websites where you can procure Al Basile - The Goods are Al Basile, Amazon, Tower Records, and CD Baby.  

© May 2011. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com. All rights reserved. 





Crossroads Blues Society



Al Basile Sweetspot Records www.albasile.com 13 tracks

Another fantastic CD has arrived from horn player Al Basile from the old Room Full Of Blues Band. Al has written 13 impeccable songs in his great poetic and lyrical style, added some swinging and some mellow melodies, and once again enlisted the support of former RFOBB musicians to accompany him. Produced by Duke Robillard, who is also featured on guitar, Al is joined by Brad Hallen on bass, Bruce Bears on keys, Mark Teixiera on drums and percussion, Doug James on saxes and woodwinds, and the Blind Boys of Alabama as guest vocalist on the fantastic spiritual “Lie Down in Darkness (Raise Up in Light)”, one of the album‟s highlights. A haunting horn solo on this one adds to the superb vocal workings.

The majority of the CD is down tempo (7 tracks) and the other 5 in a more swinging style. “The Price (I Got To Pay)” opens the set, a grooving tune he wrote for Duke that he switched to a horn player‟s confession. Basile‟s cornet is sweet sounding here and throughout. He keeps swinging in “Along Come the Kid”, a interesting story about the young protégé who come along and changes things for those who thought they had it made. Nice keys by Bears and sting- ing guitar by the Duke also sell this one.

I Want to Put it There” is full of fun double entendres about his dog playing in his girl‟s yard and such– a very New Orleans styled beat makes this cool, too. “The Itch” tells the story about times we need relief; he blends a suave vocal line in with his muffled cornet, bouncy key work, and a grooving guitar.

I could single out most every song but for spaces sake suffice it to say if you are a Roomful fan you‟ll love this. The tunes are new and refreshing; nothing stale and old sounding here. If you want to hear swinging blues, this is the place. I must commend Mr. Basile for creating a fine set of musical stories. Highly recommended!

Reviewed by Steve Jones



The Alternate Root



You ever notice how the Blues is immediate. Generally, there is no waiting period or allowing a set amount of time to get relief. Sure, the names are changed, but the words and meaning are locked into place. On ‘The Goods’, Al Basile says what is on his mind. Al does need to rely on his decades spanning career that includes a first trumpet stint in Roomful of Blues and eight solo albums, to let you know the how’s of why he is on the giving end of a microphone. “The Price (I Got to Pay)” lays claim to his spot, citing going places, meeting people, making money to give it to someone else as “a price I got to pay if I want to stay free”. Al Basile is a bluesman, he knows the lay of the land. His credentials mean nothing to those hungry cries and wails of up and coming voices, explaining that “what I’m trying to do is to stay one step ahead” only to find he is falling behind.
‘The Goods’ glad bag of songs follows the same path of clear meanings and an emotion packed delivery. He wrestles with the two forms of salvation on “The Itch”, puts warning labels on love interests in “She’s A Taker” and “Reality Show” and slows down for some personal reflection with “Time Can Wait”. Al Basile reunites with long time recording and performing buddy Duke Robillard for production and, yep, that is The Blind Boys of Alabama lending their power to the equally mighty “Lie Down in Darkness (Raise Up in Light)”.











Jazz&Blues Report

al basile

the goods

Sweetspot

Cornet man Al Basile is showing off his latest project, THE GOODS, which is perfect for those who expect a little intelligence in their music, thanks to his reputation as a published poet. On his eighth solo release, Basile wisely includes the lyrics in the booklet for the fans to follow along with while listening to the tunes.

A mixture of funk, via “The Price (I Got To Pay)” and “Along Come The Kid,” with more gospel-flavored of- ferings like “Pealing Bells” and “Lie Down In Darkness (Raise Up In Light),” THE GOODS features some surprise guests, including The Blind Boys Of Alabama filling in for a heavenly choir on the latter cut. Numerologists in the audience will have a field day with the quirky “1.843 Mil- lion,” while Bruce Bears’ piano steadies the bluesy “Time Can Wait.” The poke at Alexander Graham Bell’s inven- tion of the telephone in “Mr. Graham Bell” drips irony, thanks to the feel of the song “Loan Me A Dime,” used as the flavoring of Al’s original. Most unusual in this deck might be the Big Easy Christmas special, “Don’t Sleep On Santa,” due to Doug James on piccolo and Basile’s scratching away on guiro.

As always, I went back to my past Al Basile reviews to read them and wasn’t overly surprised both used the word “eclectic” to describe this man’s music. For THE GOODS the key word this time would “prolific,” since this disc comes out a little over a year since Basile’s last go- around, SOUL BLUE 7, in early 2010. This one is a solid effort with strong lyrics from Al Basile and, bottom line, it’s all to the good. Peanuts





Al Basile The Goods Sweetspot 2010

BluesWax Rating: 9



Blues Poetry

From the first bars of the first song we think that we know what to expect of this album: uptempo, horn-driven blues. It’s that and much more.

Renaissance man Al Basile has a noteworthy resume. Educator, poet, singer, songwriter, and ace instrumentalist (cornet), Basile was part of the always-stalwart horn section of the venerable and stellar band Roomful of Blues from 1973-1975. Since then he has appeared as sideman on many albums, ventured into jazz, collaborated multiple times with guitar maven and Roomful founder Duke Robillard, and produced a number of fine albums of his own.  This, his eighth solo album, is a gem.

All thirteen songs on the CD are penned by Basile, and they represent a spectrum of genres from gospel to quasi-rockabilly to soul to jazz, while maintaining deep roots in the blues. “The Price (I Got to Pay)” kicks off the album with a mid-tempo declaration of artistic independence from a bluesman whose instrument, the cornet, isn’t the usual cynosure of blues music. “Along Come the Kid” gooses the tempo and allows space for one of the many tasteful solos provided by Robillard, who also produced the album. It’s followed by one of the highlights of the disc, “Lie Down in Darkness (Raise Up in Light),” a slow gospel song featuring fine piano, a beautiful cornet solo by Basile, then a guitar response by Robillard, and sublime vocal backing by the nonpareil Blind Boys of Alabama. Why listen more; can it get any better?

Well, it stays just as good. “1.843 Million” is a humorous tale of crime gone bad accompanied by the sounds of the street, an unusual structure of seven-line stanzas, and another crack cornet foray. “Time Can Wait” is a bittersweet love song with an infectious crescendo, three-note saxophone riff, pulsating bass, and Robillard’s subterranean but essential rhythm guitar foundation; it brought to mind the Rolling Stones’ “Time Waits for No One” transmogrified to the blues. Lightening the mood are the next two songs: “I Want to Put It There,” whose R-rated insinuations are obvious but fresh, and “The Itch,” the description of a late-night allergic reaction that produced this very song.

Mr. Graham Bell” switches to a minor key and is the most classically structured blues song on the disc, perfect for 2 a.m. in a seedy bar. The rhythm interlude of piano, bass, and drums is superb and segues into an equally classy cornet solo. By the third verse, Basile’s vocal morphs from dolor and dismay to true anguish, a second album highlight. “She’s a Taker” is a soul blues about a narcissistic lover, and “Reality Show” laments the contemporary replacement of personal connection with celebrity worship. “Pealing Bells” is another slow, soul-gospel amalgam, reminiscent of “St. James Infirmary.” “Don’t Sleep on Santa” is blues with a hint of Latino flavor, open to salacious interpretation and featuring fine cornet and guitar solos…and blues piccolo! The disc closes with “Distant Ships,” a poignant lament underpinned by Robillard’s six-string lyricism, a syncopated drum backing, and a moving cornet bridge.

The band backing Basile is exemplary. Doug James on sax, clarinet, and piccolo provides tasteful support. Brad Hallen’s bass is propulsive, Mark Teixeira on percussion stays with basic rhythms which are solid but not distractingly flashy, Bruce Bears is fine on piano and organ, and Duke Robillard is masterful as usual without grabbing the spotlight.

What about Basile’s singing? Well, I was very impressed. Lacking the powerful pipes of such luminaries as Little Milton and Curtis Salgado, Basile uses his voice to maximal effect, resulting in presentations wry, moving, and upbeat as befit the song.

Last, but not least, Basile’s brief, annotated notes about each song are illuminating and draw attention to the lyrics themselves which are far superior to the trite renderings of many blues rave-ups, ballads, and dirges; they’re worth reading as the poetry that they are.

Highly recommended!

Steve Daniels is a contributing editor to BluesWax.



The Sunday Night Blues Project

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Al Basile "The Goods"



Here's a good CD that I don't want you to miss out on! Al Basile may be the best musician out there that you've never heard. Think of him as the current version of Southside Johnny back in the 80s--that underground artist that you just had to be hip to. Al Basile is that same artist now--a great singer, a great songwriter, a great cornet/trumpet player, front man with a great band--and once you're "in the know," he will be an indispensable part of your catalog. 

This is Basile's seventh CD since 1998, following 2009's "Soul Blue 7" which reached # 12 on the Living Blues chart. He puts them out on his own label, Sweetspot Records, on his own schedule, with stellar sidemen. This time out features friend Duke Robillard on guitar and production, Basile on vocals and cornet, Doug James on horns, Bruce Bears on keyboards, Mark Teixeira on drums, Brad Hallen on bass, and special guests The Blind Boys of Alabama. Every song is intelligent, each lick is right on the money, and the lyrics tell the kind of stories worth hearing over and over. I like the opener "The Price (I Got to Pay)" which showcases the horn section and features sharp lyrics; and the cracking good piano-driven "Mr Graham Bell;" and the gospel-ish "Pealing Bells," which sounds like Basile has listened to Daniel Lanois' swampy roots-rock production with Bob Dylan. And there's even an original Christmas song! I especially enjoy hearing Basile and this great band with The Blind Boys of Alabama doing "Lie Down in Darkness (Raise Up in Light)" which sounds great, has a great message, and needs to become a modern classic. 

This is a very strong release--even in a year with a lot of really good releases, this one is high in the running for Bruce's top 10 of the year! You can buy it at: http://www.albasile.com





PHOENIX BLUES SOCIETY – BLUESBYTES –

 

Al Basile’s latest release for Sweetspot Records, his eighth, is called The Goods.  If you’ve been following the former Roomful of Blues member for a while, you know what to expect – smooth music and arrangements in the Roomful of Blues tradition (produced by fellow Roomful alumnus Duke Robillard), smooth vocals, and some of the most intelligent and savvy songwriting around.  The Goods may be his most ambitious album so far, touching on elements of the blues, jazz, soul, gospel, and swing.


Basile was originally a poet and fiction writer, with a master’s degree from Brown in Creative Writing, so the thirteen songs are all like little short stories.  The opener, “The Price (I Got To Pay),” is a peppy soul number of the Memphis variety.  “Along Come The Kid” is a song about expecting the unexpected, and features some rock-edged guitar from Robillard.  There’s more deep soul on tracks like “Time Can Wait,” “She’s A Taker,” and the gospel-flavored “Distant Ships.” 


Lie Down In Darkness (Raise Up In Light)” ventures into gospel territory, featuring background vocals from the Blind Boys of Alabama, and is guaranteed to raise chill bumps.  “1.843 Million” is a story song about a heist in the old film noir tradition, complete with car chases, sirens, and squealing tires.  Basile also journeys to the Crescent City for three tracks, the double entendre-laden “I Want To Put It There,” the funky “The Itch,” and “Don’t Sleep On Santa,” which also incorporates some Latin rhythms.


The humorous “Mr. Graham Bell” is a lengthy minor-key blues lament about that best and worst of inventions, the telephone with some great piano work from Bruce Bears.   “Reality Show” is also humorous, about a woman who can only find satisfaction when in front of a camera.  “Pealing Bells” is another gospel number with a masterful vocal from Basile.


Lending Basile a hand is a first rate band including Robillard (guitar), Bears (keyboards), Brad Hallen (bass), Mark Teixeira (drums), and fellow Roomful alum Doug James (saxes, clarinet, piccolo).  The Goods takes the best of what Al Basile has done on his previous releases and gathers it all together to make one impressive album.  – Graham Clarke




All Music Guide: Al Basile – The Goods – SweetSpot Records

By William Ruhlmann



Singer, songwriter, and cornetist Al Basile, a former member of Roomful of Blues, is on his eighth self-released solo album with The Goods, which, like the previous seven, was produced by Roomful of Blues leader Duke Robillard, who also contributes guitar. Basile has a literary bent that comes out in his tendency to write explanatory notes for each of his compositions, and in the lyrics themselves, which tell stories or at least are based on ideas the songwriter came up with beforehand and worked out in the song. Those stories and ideas range from "Distant Ships," the closing track, a sad reflection on missed social opportunities, to the comic "The Itch," a true story, Basile assures. "1.843 Million" is about a bank robber on the lam, while "Reality Show" is a boyfriend's lament about his girlfriend who wants to put their relationship online for all to see. (Having disparaged computers, Basile also attacks the telephone on "Mr. Graham Bell.") This musical short story collection is set to traditional R&B and blues styles deriving from Chicago, Memphis, and New Orleans, even though the record was recorded mostly in West Greenwich, Rhode Island. Basile sings in a sort of lived-in baritone, and his traditionally structured tunes leave room for solos by him, Robillard, keyboardist Bruce Bears, and saxophonist Doug James (another Roomful of Blues alumnus) with the Blind Boys of Alabama joining in on the spiritually inclined "Lie Down in Darkness (Raise Up in Light)." The album's diversity demonstrates that, under the umbrella term "blues," many different kinds of songs and styles of music can fit comfortably.








Bluestime


Al Basile, bluesman uit Massachusetts alias ‘The Bard of the Blues’ van Bay State, zit in de ondefinieerbare beroepsklasse van zanger, songwriter, fictieschrijver, dichter, leraar, muzikant, maar koos de laatste jaren toch resoluut voor soul, ritme en blues. Sinds hij in 1973 als trompettist bij de band van Duke Robillard werd ingelijfd , - het productieve ‘Roomful of Blues’ -, beoefende hij al deze beroepen al dan niet in de zijlijn. Niettemin keerde hij telkens weer terug naar zijn oude liefde: bluesmuziek in al zijn emotionele varianten. Tussen 1998 en nu bracht hij op zijn eigen label een zevental albums uit en op dit achtste, geproducet door Duke Robillard die als gitarist meespeelt, zingt hij zijn verhalende songs met zowel professionele als intuïtieve inleving.

De songs omvatten situaties, figuren, fait-divers, frapperende tafereeltjes, anekdotes, beeldfragmenten of emoties. Als poëet en schrijver die zijn werken publiceert was een tekstboekje bij de cd welkom geweest, maar bij Al Basile luister je toch hoofdzakelijk naar melodie of de rijke instrumentatie. Hijzelf is een bedreven kornettist, maar ook saxofonist Doug James is een lust voor het oor zowel in de funky als in de slepende bluesritmes. Het weemoedige ‘Time Can Wait’ zou zo niet misstaan als uitgeleide bij een dans van paartjes in een lichtcirkel vooraleer de bar zijn deuren sluit. 

In dit album komen alle invloeden samen die Al Basile in zijn lange carrière ooit absorbeerde van soul, jazz, ritmegitaar tot zelfs gospel. In het inspirerende ‘Lie Down in Darkness’ verzorgen ‘The Blind Boys Of Alabama’ de koorzang. Daarentegen heeft ‘Don’t Sleep On Santa’ een Latino swing. Het weemoedige ‘Distant Ships’ accentueert dan weer de vluchtigheid van mooie dingen die terugwijken. Het sombere ‘Pealing Bells’ doordrongen van Delta mood komt over als een Blind Willie Johnson song. En in de prachtsong ‘Mr. Graham Bell’ met elegante pianobegeleiding zitten John Lee Hooker reminiscenties. Maar de funky songs doen dan weer aan New Orleans denken vooral met Doug’s saxpartijen en de piano van Bruce Bears. Bij ‘I Want To Put It There’ ontbreekt zo nog alleen de stem van Louis Armstrong.

In zijn composities evoceert Al Basile subtiele gemoedsvariaties die soms als een travelling verglijden dan weer als close-up lijken in te zoomen. Al Basile zingt het allemaal met evenveel gevoel met een rokerige stem die een kruising is van Sam Cooke, Steely Dan en Michael Franks. Dit stemmingsalbum met meer dan een uur afspeeltijd vormt een mooi afwisselend geheel van roots, soul, blues met funky uitstapjes en een enkele gospel. Het fusiegeheel verveelt geen enkele minuut, integendeel, de hoornblazers Basile en Doug James doen er nog een portie opwinding bij. Marcie



Already Basile, bluesman Massachusetts alias `The Bard or the Blues', sit out van Bay State in the undefinable profession class of warbler, songwriter, fiction writer, dichter, teacher, bandsman, but chose the last years nevertheless resolute for soul music, rhythm and blues. Since he in 1973, if trumpeter had been incorporated at the link of Duke Robillard, - the productive `Roomful or Blues' -, had practised he all these calls yes or no in the they line. Nevertheless he returned each time to its old love: bluesmuziek in already are emotional alternatives. Between 1998 and now he brought on its own label to zevental albums from and on this eighth, geproducet by Duke Robillard which takes part in as a gitarist, he sings its recovering songs with both professional and intuitive inleving. The songs to include situations, characters, fait-divers, striking tafereeltjes, anecdotes, picture fragments or emotions. As a poet and writer who is publishes work a text notebook had been at the cd welcome, but listen at already Basile you nevertheless mainly to melody or the rich instrumentation. He himself is adept kornettist, but also saxophonist Doug James is a desire for the ear both in the funky and in the bluesritmes dragging. The melancholic `Time Can Wait' would not become if not as escort at a dancing of paartjes in lichtcirkel before the bar is doors closes. In this album all influences which already Basile in its long career absorbed ever of, meet soul music, jazz, rhythm jet ear to even gospel. In the inspiring `Lie down ones in Darkness' `The blindly look after Boys or Alabama' the chancel song. On the other hand `Don't have Sleep On Santa' Latino swing. The melancholic `Distant Ships' accentuate then the fugacity of beautiful things which districts. The dark `Pealing Bells' penetrated mood of delta happen as blind Willie Johnson song. And in the prachtsong `Mr. Graham Bell' with elegant accompanimentaccompaniment accompaniment sits John Lee Hooker reminiscences. But the funky do think songs then of New Orleans especially with Doug saxophone parties and the piano of Bruce Bears. At `I because To draw It There' are this way still only lacking the voice of Louis Armstrong. In its compositions evoceert already Basile subtle mind variations which seem sometimes as travelling verglijden then as close-up in at zoomen. Already Basile sing it all with as much feeling with a smoky voice which is a junction of Sam Cooke, Steely then and Michael franc. This poll album with than one hour afspeeltijd more form a beautiful alternatively whole of roots, soul music, blues with funky trips and a single gospel. The fusiegeheel annoy themselves absolutely no minute, on the contrary, horn fumaroles Basile and Doug James do still a serving agitation.




Blues Matters 60



AL BASILE
The Goods

Sweetspot

8th album from New England based vocalist and cornet player Al Basile finds him collaborating once again with Duke Robillard and his fine band on a set of 13 original songs. Robillard plays guitar and handles production duties and as you would expect the resulting quality is extremely high throughout. Opening track 'The Price (I Got To Pay)' is a sturdy paean to the problems of a gigging musician and features funky horn riffs and a superb cornet solo. 'Along Came The Kid' is a rocker with plenty of muscular guitar work from Robillard as it is driven along by the fine rhythm

section and organ from Bruce Bears. The Blind Boys Of Alabama add their gospel vocals to the spiritually uplifting 'Lie Down In Darkness (Raise Up in Light)' which also features a beautiful cornet solo from Basile. The use of cornet as a lead instrument adds a pleasingly jazzy feel to Basile's sound and his eclectic mix of styles. '1.843 Million' is the story of a bank raid which opens with squealing tyres, police sirens and gunfire which rocks along furiously featuring five minutes of musical mayhem and ends in a total chaotic breakdown. The blue-eyed soul ballad 'Time Can Wait' is a vehicle for Basile's impassioned vocals backed up by superb guitar fills from

Robillard. 'I Want To Put It There' has a funky New Orleans feel with fine rolling piano and muted cornet riding on a second line beat which all makes for a very tasty stew. 'The Itch' is a light hearted novelty song featuring chicken-scratch guitar from Robillard and this is followed by the minor blues 'Mr Graham Bell' which relates the tale of Basile's telephone which only ever seems to bring bad news. 'The Taker' is a pop soul opus with a touch of Otis Redding and  'Reality Show' continues the feel with swirling organ and a honking horn riff. 'Pealing Bells' has a gospel feel

with impassioned vocals and cornet playing from Basile. 'Don't Sleep On Santa' is a funky Latin infused song before the album closes with 'Distant Ships' a tale of lost friendships set to a light hip-hop beat. This is a varied, interesting and enjoyable album from Al Basile and worthy of high praise.

 









FAME website -A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by
Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com).

Al Basile has been more a blues mainstay than you might know. Hired by Duke Robillard in '73 as the first trumpet player in the jump band Roomful of Blues, he also sat in with Eddie 'Cleanhead' Vinson, Joe Turner, Johnny Shines, and a number of others. Turns out the guy knew how to write, too, and soon partnered up with Robillard, appearing on a solid 10 of the Duke's releases, playing, writing, and carrying on. Formerly a full-time teacher, Basile in '98 started his own label, Sweetspot Records (not to be confused with the rap/hip-hop Sweet Spot Records), and has gained growing recognition as a North American poet. The guy, as the cover shot for The Goods well attests, looks like a Mafia godfather, or at least a consigliere, carrying his axe in an ominous-looking case—and, yikes!, the label logo sports a Capone-looking baseball bat!—but he sings and plays in a slight-pre- / slightly-post-Motown mode while Robillard wails in the background (esp. check out his gee-tar on 1.834 Million—move over, Yardbirds!—a song which simultaneously demonstrates how cleverly Basile can turn words and scenarios upside down).

The Blind Boys of Alabama appear on Lie Down in Darkness (Raise Up in Light), a great title for an inspirational number that works either spiritually or religiously—and the two, boys and girls, are not the same thing. Basile takes a moral base in all his work, even when it's on the erotic side, as in The Itch, which is and isn't what you think it is (the writerly side of the gent loves double entendre). None of that, however, removes the heat from any of cuts that tend to roofshaking and floor stomping. Al Basile knows where he started, where he wants to be, and how to maintain it all. With an enviable record behind him, The Goods becomes a window on what's in store for the future…and it appears to be a combination of shaking it on down and lion taming conducted by a sly poet-hipster.





Nashville Blues Society - Mar 30, 2011

AL BASILE - THE GOODS - SWEETSPOT RECORDS SP16THE PRICE (I GET TO PAY)--ALONG COME THE KID--LIE DOWN IN DARKNESS (WAKE UP IN LIGHT)--1.843 MILLION--TIME CAN WAIT--I WANT TO PUT IT THERE--THE ITCH--MR. GRAHAM BELL--SHE'S A TAKER--REALITY SHOW--PEALING BELLS--DON'T SLEEP ON SANTA--DISTANT SHIPS



Al Basile is indeed a multi-faceted talent. An accomplished fiction writer and published poet, he started his own record label, SweetSpot Records, in 1998, while working full-time as a teacher. He's also a brilliant singer-songwriter, and was Duke Robillard's first choice as cornetist for the original lineup of Roomful Of Blues way back in 1969. With all these accolades, it's easy to see why Al has garnered the nickname "the Bard of the blues." On his eighth solo CD, "The Goods," Al brings all his interests together to create a highly-satisfying set.

Al combines his love for blues, jazz, vintage soul, and a touch of gospel on these thirteen originals, and allows him to put his poet's skills to use, with his penchant for riveting storytelling. Good friend Duke Robillard adds guitar throughout, and lends his band as backup. 

The set starts off with the Stax-like vibe of "The Price (I Get To Pay)," featuring a sweet cornet solo, and continues that vibe with "She's A Taker." His rapid-fire account of the last few minutes of a high-speed car chase following a bank heist (including police radio dispatch calls and sirens!) is detailed in "1.843 Million." Al has a great voice for ballads, too, as is evident on "Distant Ships" and the poignant "Time Can Wait."

Al has a humorous side, too, and it shows thru in cuts such as "Don't Sleep On Santa" and "Reality Show." The Blind Boys of Alabama lend backing vocals on the gospel-tinged "Lie Down In Darkness (Wake Up In Light)." 

We had two favorites, too. A sparse arrangement and haunting tremolo guitar drive the minor-key "Pealing Bells," with another fine cornet solo at the bridge. And, Al's dislike for the seemingly-endless bits of bad news that accompany his constantly ringing phone is the nine-minute slow-burner, "Mr. Graham Bell."

Al Basile could easily do a complete album on all the genres' he so cleverly combines into one complete volume herein. He's one bluesman that you can always count on to deliver "The Goods!!" Until next time....Sheryl and Don Crow






Al Basile - The Goods (2011)

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating





Al Basile's The Goods

Photo courtesy Sweetspot Records



No, the cornet isn’t the instrument that calls attention to itself in the blues world. Heck, even in jazz, the cornet has long since taken a back seat to the louder and tougher sounding trumpet. In blues, you might as well forget about the older horn with the valves, unless you happen to be talking about the work of Al Basile. As it turns out, Al Basile is the subject today.

Basile was a member of Roomful of Blues and a long-time associate of Duke Robillard, not to mention a writer of poetry. Unlike your average horn player in a blues outfit, most of whom are content to interject spunky little riffs and sway from side to side in unison while waiting for the occasional solo; Basile has forged a nice little career as a frontman. Robillard and others have recorded his songs, but Basile does a good job presenting them himself.

Al Basile's The Goods

The Goods is album number eight in the leadership role for Basile. It’s a strong collection of original material, mostly in the R&B vein, with soulful singing, chameleonic lead guitar from Robillard, and, of course, some sweet cornet playing. Basile’s songs are sharp, carefully-constructed nuggets of observation and occasional spiritual yearning.

The Price (I Got to Pay)” kicks things off in fine fashion, establishing the soulful feel of the record and showing off the skilled horn arrangements of Basile and saxophonist Doug James. After Basile takes his first sweetly melodic cornet solo of the record, Robillard takes a tautly twanging country-styled guitar feature. “Along Came The Kid” follows with a nastier, down and dirty soul groove laid down beneath Basile’s powerful imagery about meeting the unexpected and staying true to yourself.

Lie Down In Darkness

The best cut on the record, “Lie Down In Darkness (Raise Up In Light)” gains power from the guest vocal appearance of the Blind Boys of Alabama. The song has beautiful, gospel-drenched chord changes, and the Blind Boys' harmonies behind Basile’s vocals are exquisite. His cornet here hugs those changes, and then Robillard’s guitar cascades to gorgeous effect. The semi-spiritual quality of this one is in stark contrast to the desperate overdriven soul groove of “1.843 Million,” a clever tale of a bank robber trying to get away from the scene of his very large crime. Here, the cornet takes us out of the mood, though; Basile plays a well-constructed solo, but it’s too thin for the grittiness of the song.

It’s too bad Solomon Burke passed away without singing some of these songs – “Time Can Wait” and the gospel-influenced “Distant Ships” would have been perfect fits for the Bishop of Soul, who knew his way around lugubrious soul ballads. Basile’s cornet solos on these two cuts are perfect in context, stinging with faith and love on the former and elegantly searching on the latter.

Down To New Orleans

I Want to Put It There” and “The Itch” take us down to New Orleans, where the funk is sinuous and the mind is thinking about sex. The former features Bruce Bears plying some Professor Longhair-styled licks, while the latter sounds more like an Allen Toussaint production with backing by the Meters. On “I Want to Put It There,” Basile’s cornet growls straight from the groin while using a plunger, and sounds ecstatic when played free.

Basile puts down his most effective vocal of the record on “Mr. Graham Bell,” a funny rant about the evils of the invention which has come far beyond the wildest dreams of Alexander Graham Bell. Basile has a blast singing lines like, “Wakes me up one more time, I’m going to rip it off the wall;” as if phones are fixed to walls anywhere nowadays. “Reality Show” is a different kind of song, too, with lyrics about a person raised in a world where everything is documented on video of some sort and nothing seems real unless someone is watching. There’s also a funny little New Orleans-styled blues Christmas number, “Don’t Sleep On Santa,” with a Cuban influence to the groove.

Steve's Bottom Line

Al Basile has songwriting intelligence, vocal soul, cornet skills, and the friendship of one of the best guitar players working in the roots music field. Keeping close to the bluesy end of the R&B spectrum, Basile’s The Goods is an enjoyable experience worthy of more attention than he’s gotten in the past. (Sweetspot Records, released March 15, 2011)







Blinded By Sound 3/27


Review: Al Basile - The Goods

Horns have long had major role in the blues sound but it's been more common to have horn players as band leaders in the jazz world than the blues. It's also not common for the horn player/bandleader/lead vocalist to be a cornetist, so what we have here is an uncommon blues album.

Al Basile's 13-track, eighth solo album is akin to a Roomful of Blues alumni meeting, with former Roomful'er Doug James on saxophone and Roomful founder Duke Robillard contributing guitars and serving as the album's producer. Robillard's drummer Mark "I Don't Play 1B For The Evil Empire" Teixiera is also in tow.

The Basile sound is a jazz-tinged contemporary blues with a noirish,'40s throwback flair. That noirish style comes through in both music and lyrics. Take "1.843 Million," an action movie in five minutes. The music sounds like what you'd hear in a great chase scene after a bank heist in a classic Hollywood film and Basile gives a great sketch of the scene in the lyrics. Duke Robillard's lead guitar brings the excitement and the danger, even echoing a police siren at times. It's a stylish, Raymond Chandler short story with a kiss.

It's not all fun, games, and fiction on The Goods. Basile is at times somber and meditative as he is on "Lie Down In Darkness (Raise Up In Light)" and "Pealing Bells." The former is a stately, elegant hymn that soars with grace when the Blind Boys of Alabama provide beautiful backing vocals. "Pealing Bells" is spiritual in a different sense, with a funeral-dirge spirit permeating the song. Basile's cornet accents are mournful and perfect for the song.

Basile is also a social critic on tracks like "Mr. Graham Bell" and "Reality Show." The former, about the love/hate relationship he has with the telephone and modern technology, goes on for over nine minutes. It probably should have been trimmed to half that, but it's worth listening to if for no other reason than Bruce Bears' lovely piano run. On "Reality Show," he not only decries what is often an exploitive, celebration of dumbness but also the overt titilation and oversexification of the programming and how that is likely to be how some kids are first exposed to aspects of love and intimacy.

Robillard gets a couple moments to shine on the record, as well. He peppers "1.843 Million" but really tears it up on rhythm and lead on "Along Come The Kid." His lead on "Don't Sleep On Santa" is also predictably excellent.

Basile is being modest; the best moments on The Goods are much more than that and the lesser moments aren't shabby, either.

By Josh Hathaway






3/24 Blues Underground Network



There are not a lot of Artists that can claim to also be published poets, but than again there are not a lot of Artists like Al Basile. Often referred to as "The Bard Of the Blues", Al Basile's talents as a songwriter, poet, and cornetist are starting to, slowly but surely, take him into the realm of legendary status. For his 8th solo release, "The Goods", Al once again brings all those talents to the forefront, bringing us all into a magical musical world he skillfully creates via his amazing gift as also a storyteller.

 

Al Basile's fantastic ability to tell a story comes from the fact that he was originally a poet and fiction writer before becoming a musical performer. In fact, Al was the first person to get a "Master's Degree from Brown University's Creative Writing program". Meeting Duke Robillard in 1969, sent Al in basically a different artistic direction, one that lead him to being hired "as the first trumpet player for Rhode Island's premier jump band Roomful of Blues", which kick started his musical career. In 1975

Al left Roomful Of Blues to commit himself more to his songwriting, singing, and teaching. That decision however did not end the musical cameraderie between Al and Duke, as they have spent many of the years since, both performing with and writing songs for each other. "The Goods", once again, brings these 2 musical dynamo's together, with Duke Robillard not only playing guitar, but also producing this Album.

 

"The Goods" consists of 13 Original Tracks, in the styles of music that Al Basile has loved for so long, the Blues, Soul, R&B, and Gospel, and while I am sure he could have effectively created an Album for each of those Genres, it is his ability to cohesively blend those styles on one album that makes his music so special. Performing with Al Basile on "The Goods" was of course Duke Robillard (Guitar), who also brought along his band consisting of Brad Hallen (Bass), Bruce Bears (Keyboards), Mark Teixeira (Drums) and Sax Man Extraordinaire Doug James, who not only brings his Saxophone prowess, but also adds the sounds of the Bass Clarinet and Piccolo to the mix. "The Goods" also features Legendary performers The Blind Boys of Alabama which perform the Background Vocals for the Soulful/Gospel Track "Lie Down in Darkness (Raise Up in Light)".

 

When it comes to writing lyrics, Al Basile's forte is certainly the fact that he is and has always been, a great Storyteller, which is no more evident than in the 13 great stories he manages to eloquently tell via "The Goods". Whether it be a story about the last five minutes of a criminal's car chase, "1.843 Million", which by the way even included sirens, or a story about his love/hate relationship with the phone and how he directs his displeasure at none other than its inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, "Mr. Graham Bell", Al Basile will certainly delight you not only via his lyrics, but also by how he fits it all together with the music.

 

When it comes to Al Basile's Horn playing on "The Goods", he truly shows off the master musician that he is, perfectly stepping in and out of the song, knowing all too well when a little dash is needed or not needed to the musical recipe. That kind of Master Craftsmanship is also displayed courtesy of all the other musicians on "The Goods", especially Duke Robillard, as he magically weaves the notes of his Guitar, in and out of each song.

 

As the name implies, Al Basile certainly continues to deliver "The Goods" as only he knows how. He continually manages to enthrall us with not only his ability to bring Pen to Paper, but also with ability to bring the Lyrics to Life...

 

"The Goods" is an Album I have no problem Highly Recommending, and I really don't care if you are just a dedicated Blues fan, because the music that Al Basile creates deserves everyone's attention, Blues fans and Beyond.

 

Review by John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)


____________________________________


Radio Park – Poland


 Al Basile , The Goods, Wytwórnia płytowa Sweetspot Records

Nagrana pod koniec 2009 płyta Soul Blue 7 była szczęśliwą siódemką- doskonała i pokazująca wielką klasę muzyków. Odtwarzałem ją w Okolicach Bluesa z wielką przyjemnością. Od marca 2011 mamy kolejne dzieło tego wszechstronnego artysty. Al Basile to człowiek renesansu. Pisze wiersze, opowiadania, sztuki teatralne no i przede wszystkim muzykę. Doskonale sprawdza się jako wokalista. Głos mocny, pewny, ale gdy trzeba szorstki i surowy. A gdy przstaje śpiewać, gra na kornecie. Niedoceniony to dzisiaj instrument i przez to rzadki. Basile frazuje po mistrzowsku i swinguje aż miło. Znakomicie zaaranżował partie dęciaków, które grają tu ważną rolę. Po raz kolejny AB zaprosił do nagrań swoich przyjaciół z Duke Robillard Band. Było to więc spotkanie dawnych kumpli z zespołu Roomful of Blues. Grali w nim także saksofonista Doug James i basista Brad Hallen. Za perkusją- Mark Teixeira, klawisze- Bruce Bears. Są także goście specjalni. To zespół wokalny The Blind Boys of Alabama, który towarzyszy Alowi w kilku utworach. Muzyka na The Goods jest połączeniem bluesa, soul i gospel, przypominają się stare lata 60- te i 70- te, brzmienie Memphis i Muscle Shoals. Basile nie wymyśla prochu, ale korzysta z gotowych recept na zrobienie dobrej płyty, a mając u boku takich muzyków jest pewne, że powstanie muzyka bardzo stylowa i autentyczna. Duke Robillard i jego partnerzy nie od dziś są znani jako kustosze muzycznych tradycji. Robillard na każdej swojej płycie i w wywiadach opowiada skąd się wywodzi i komu zawdzięcza wspaniałą bluesową spuściznę. Al Basile pochodzi z tego samego kręgu i żywi ogromny szacunek dla tradycji. Kto dobrze radzi sobie z angielskim, z przyjemnością posłucha tekstów, które nie są jedynie dodatkiem do muzyki. Al traktuje bardzo poważnie swoją rolę literata i stara się opowiadać ciekawe, dobrze napisane historie. Trzynaście klasycznych, świetnie napisanych piosenek z dobtymi tekstami. Czego chcieć więcej?


Al Basile, The Goods, Record Label Records sweetspot

Recorded in late 2009 album Soul Blue 7 was a lucky number seven-perfect and showing great class musicians. I played it around the blues with great pleasure. Since March 2011 we have another work of this versatile artist. Al Basile is a Renaissance man. He writes poems, short stories, plays and, above all, music. Excels as a singer. The voice of a strong, sure, but when you have a rough and raw. And when przstaje singing, playing the cornet. Today is underestimated by the instrument and it is rare. Basile masterly phrasing and swings up nicely. Superbly arranged dęciaków parties, which play an important role. Once again, the AB has invited his friends to record with Duke Robillard Band. So it was a meeting of old pals from the band Roomful of Blues. It also played in saxophonist Doug James and bassist Brad Hallen. On drums-Mark Teixeira, keys-Bruce Bears. There are also special guests. This vocal group The Blind Boys of Alabama, who is accompanied by Al on several tracks. Music for The Goods is a combination of blues, soul and gospel, one is reminded of the old year 60 - and 70 of those - those sound of Memphis and Muscle Shoals. Basile did not invent gunpowder, but it uses the ready-made recipes to make a good album, and with such musicians at his side is certain that the music created a very stylish and authentic. Duke Robillard and his partners have not since today are known as the curators of musical traditions. Robillard on each of his record and interviews tells how it is derived, and who owes a great blues heritage. Al Basile comes from the same circle, and cultivate a great respect for tradition. Who copes well with the English, happy to listen to texts that are not merely an adjunct to the music. Al takes very seriously its role as a writer and tries to tell an interesting, well-written stories. Thirteen classic, well-written songs with texts dobtymi. What more could you want?





Blues & Rhythm #60


BLUES & RHYTHM (UK)

AL BASILE: The Goods

Sweetspot 9142 (63:20)

The Price (I Got To Pay)/ Along Come The Kid/ Lie Down In Darkness (Raise Up In Light)/ 1.843 Million/ Time Can Wait/ I Want To Put It There/ The Itch/ Mr Graham Bell/ She’s A Taker/ Reality Show/ Pealing Bells/ Don’t Sleep On Santa/ Distant Ships

The Goods’ is the new release from singer, songwriter and cornet blower Al Basile. This collection of original blues, soul, r&b and gospel songs was produced by guitarist Duke Robillard, whose band (Doug James saxes, Bruce Bears keys, Mark Teixeira drums, Brad Hellen bass) backs Al Basile on the album. Along with Doug James, Basile and Robillard were original members of Roomful of Blues.

Memphis soul is the inspiration for the bouncy opener ‘The Price (I Got To Pay)’, think Eddie Hinton for your marker. ‘Along Come The Kid’ hints at Texas blues, and as befits a former member of the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Robillard lays down his thing on guitar. Special guests The Blind Boys of Alabama, provide backing vocals on the inspiring gospel song, ‘Lie Down in Darkness (Raise Up in Light)’.

Basile tells a tale of a bank robber being chased by the police, complete with screeching tires, wailing sirens and gunfire on ‘1.843 Million’ (and hauls off a nifty muted corner solo betraying his jazz sensibilities). ‘I Want to Put It There’ takes its inspiration from the Crescent City, with rolling piano from Bears and cornet from Basile. A troubled soul laments why the device causes him problems on the stark blues ‘Mr. Graham Bell’ (that’s Alexander Graham Bell, Edinburgh native and inventor of the telephone btw) – ‘telephone keep ringing but I’m not going to take the call, way my luck’s been running, not picking up the phone at all’.

It’s back to blue-eyed soul on ‘She’s A Taker’, while ‘Reality Show’ is an amusing tale of an unfortunate man who’s girlfriend is addicted to watching porn on the box (no comment!). ‘Pealing Bells’ is a barren slow blues with a New Orleans type funeral march cornet solo from Basile. With a Santana-ish Latin tinge, ‘Don’t Sleep On Santa’ is the wrong tune at the wrong time of year, it’s a clever enough song but out of step with the rest of the material. The final cut ‘Distant Ships’ reminds me of Van Morrison with a hip-hop beat.

Al Basile’s 2010 Blues Music Award nomination was for his cornet playing, and he uses his horn to full advantage on these tracks, crafting stark, pithy solos that perfectly showcase his soulful vocals. With the on-the-money backing of the band, especially Robillard, who demonstrates his facility as a rhythm guitarist throughout, as well as some of his most creative lead guitar work. Anyone who has enjoyed Al Basile’s previous offerings will enjoy this CD, as well as fans of Roomful Of Blues and Duke Robillard.

Phil Wight





MIDWEST RECORD – CHICAGO, IL – MARCH 11, 2011


SWEETSPOT AL BASILE/The Goods


With Duke Robillard and some new pals close by, Basile’s Memphis meets New York white boy blues vibe is in top form.  A solidly enjoyable date that’s loaded with heart and soul, if this doesn’t give you a room full of blues, check your pulse.  On the money throughout. – Chris Spector




Cashbox Magazine -   Reviewed 03/15/11

Al Basile The Goods

   The blues is the best kind of magic. Masters of the craft have the ability to draw from past greats and influence future generations. Al Basile has been at the top of the game for years now, and "The Goods," his latest album, will surely keep him there for a while.

   Whatever your blues passion, "The Goods" has it in spades. With some great lyrics and top shelf instrumental work, Basile and his surrounding players are sure to please all who hear their work. Music doesn't need to be too complicated, and Basile's tracks are easy adds to better music playlists.

   I think that "The Itch" was the best song this time out. It's a light-hearted tale of an ailment we all get from time to time. "I said, "Doc, I got a problem, and I'll be brief. I'll give you all kinds of money for a little relief." Doctor started hopping like a kangaroo, he said, "I'd like to help you son, but I've got it too."

   Make the time to treat yourself to great blues every now and again. You'll be surprised how it might lift you out of the last long cold days of winter. Grab your copy of Al Basile's "The Goods" tonight.



Christopher Llewellyn Adams 










 

The Sunday Morning Blues Report

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Al Basile "The Goods"



Here's a good CD that I don't want you to miss out on! Al Basile may be the best musician out there that you've never heard. Think of him as the current version of Southside Johnny back in the 80s--that underground artist that you just had to be hip to. Al Basile is that same artist now--a great singer, a great songwriter, a great cornet/trumpet player, front man with a great band--and once you're "in the know," he will be an indispensable part of your catalog. 

This is Basile's seventh CD since 1998, following 2009's "Soul Blue 7" which reached # 12 on the Living Blues chart. He puts them out on his own label, Sweetspot Records, on his own schedule, with stellar sidemen. This time out features friend Duke Robillard on guitar and production, Basile on vocals and cornet, Doug James on horns, Bruce Bears on keyboards, Mark Teixeira on drums, Brad Hallen on bass, and special guests The Blind Boys of Alabama. Every song is intelligent, each lick is right on the money, and the lyrics tell the kind of stories worth hearing over and over. I like the opener "The Price (I Got to Pay)" which showcases the horn section and features sharp lyrics; and the cracking good piano-driven "Mr Graham Bell;" and the gospel-ish "Pealing Bells," which sounds like Basile has listened to Daniel Lanois' swampy roots-rock production with Bob Dylan. And there's even an original Christmas song! I especially enjoy hearing Basile and this great band with The Blind Boys of Alabama doing "Lie Down in Darkness (Raise Up in Light)" which sounds great, has a great message, and needs to become a modern classic. 

This is a very strong release--even in a year with a lot of really good releases, this one is high in the running for Bruce's top 10 of the year! You can buy it at: http://www.albasile.com


BluesWax
Rating: 9

Blues Poetry

From the first bars of the first song we think that we know what to expect of this album: uptempo, horn-driven blues. It’s that and much more.

Renaissance man Al Basile has a noteworthy resume. Educator, poet, singer, songwriter, and ace instrumentalist (cornet), Basile was part of the always-stalwart horn section of the venerable and stellar band Roomful of Blues from 1973-1975. Since then he has appeared as sideman on many albums, ventured into jazz, collaborated multiple times with guitar maven and Roomful founder Duke Robillard, and produced a number of fine albums of his own.  This, his eighth solo album, is a gem.

All thirteen songs on the CD are penned by Basile, and they represent a spectrum of genres from gospel to quasi-rockabilly to soul to jazz, while maintaining deep roots in the blues. “The Price (I Got to Pay)” kicks off the album with a mid-tempo declaration of artistic independence from a bluesman whose instrument, the cornet, isn’t the usual cynosure of blues music. “Along Come the Kid” gooses the tempo and allows space for one of the many tasteful solos provided by Robillard, who also produced the album. It’s followed by one of the highlights of the disc, “Lie Down in Darkness (Raise Up in Light),” a slow gospel song featuring fine piano, a beautiful cornet solo by Basile, then a guitar response by Robillard, and sublime vocal backing by the nonpareil Blind Boys of Alabama. Why listen more; can it get any better?

Well, it stays just as good. “1.843 Million” is a humorous tale of crime gone bad accompanied by the sounds of the street, an unusual structure of seven-line stanzas, and another crack cornet foray. “Time Can Wait” is a bittersweet love song with an infectious crescendo, three-note saxophone riff, pulsating bass, and Robillard’s subterranean but essential rhythm guitar foundation; it brought to mind the Rolling Stones’ “Time Waits for No One” transmogrified to the blues. Lightening the mood are the next two songs: “I Want to Put It There,” whose R-rated insinuations are obvious but fresh, and “The Itch,” the description of a late-night allergic reaction that produced this very song.

Mr. Graham Bell” switches to a minor key and is the most classically structured blues song on the disc, perfect for 2 a.m. in a seedy bar. The rhythm interlude of piano, bass, and drums is superb and segues into an equally classy cornet solo. By the third verse, Basile’s vocal morphs from dolor and dismay to true anguish, a second album highlight. “She’s a Taker” is a soul blues about a narcissistic lover, and “Reality Show” laments the contemporary replacement of personal connection with celebrity worship. “Pealing Bells” is another slow, soul-gospel amalgam, reminiscent of “St. James Infirmary.” “Don’t Sleep on Santa” is blues with a hint of Latino flavor, open to salacious interpretation and featuring fine cornet and guitar solos…and blues piccolo! The disc closes with “Distant Ships,” a poignant lament underpinned by Robillard’s six-string lyricism, a syncopated drum backing, and a moving cornet bridge.

The band backing Basile is exemplary. Doug James on sax, clarinet, and piccolo provides tasteful support. Brad Hallen’s bass is propulsive, Mark Teixeira on percussion stays with basic rhythms which are solid but not distractingly flashy, Bruce Bears is fine on piano and organ, and Duke Robillard is masterful as usual without grabbing the spotlight.

What about Basile’s singing? Well, I was very impressed. Lacking the powerful pipes of such luminaries as Little Milton and Curtis Salgado, Basile uses his voice to maximal effect, resulting in presentations wry, moving, and upbeat as befit the song.

Last, but not least, Basile’s brief, annotated notes about each song are illuminating and draw attention to the lyrics themselves which are far superior to the trite renderings of many blues rave-ups, ballads, and dirges; they’re worth reading as the poetry that they are.

Highly recommended!

Steve Daniels is a contributing editor to BluesWax.


Soul Blue 7


What a wonderful experience to hear this for the first time. I completely enjoyed it on its maiden play. It brings to me all what I love about today’s blues music. From the stable of the best in today’s Blues music that is Duke Robillard comes a unique talent Al Basile. 

Not his first effort, it is actually his seventh. But this is Al Basile arrived. A clean, refreshing listen into today’s contemporary Blues/Jump, Jazz music. He has been nominated for a Blues Music Award (Handy Awards) as best horn instrumentalist with good reason. A Coronet/Trumpet player that sings, writes music, poetry, and novels, truly a multi talented gifted artist with a long lineage of fine accomplishments. 

We understand the important connected value of Jazz and Blues and he brings them together in a harmonious fashion. As gravy is to potatoes the two are for our enjoyment and forever entwined.. Here is this musician’s approach to the melding, mixing, or what Mayall coined so many years ago “fusion”. It is a perfect mix of swing blues, blues, with some jazz sides. His vocals are forefront, up-front, but smooth, slick, controlled and easy in is his style. I hear a little Gary Moore in his vocals. 

With great backup and production by one of the best in Blues guitar Duke Robillard the mood is smooth, relaxed, comfortable and soft. It just feels good! Duke takes up a back up roll and leaves the work to Al. A New Orleans sound persists with a touch of reggae. The lyrics are cerebral, clever, a thinking man’s view in each song. 

Track notes: 
Track #1 A light tune with good sax, organ and some crispy licks by Duke that are reminiscent of Albert King. 
Track # 5 “I Hope You’re Right” a great upbeat happy tune that you could listen to daily.
Track # 6 “Causing Joy “ has a good easy reggae style and easy lyrics. Possibly a look into how he sees his work, (causing joy) 
Track # 8 is a nice flowing ballad with a great sax lick at the end.
Track # 11 “Fool Me Again” is a superbly written and arranged piece that really gets you thinking. 
This is an enjoyable comfortable C/D that I will not grow tired of anytime soon. Four Strats for Al!

Reviewer John Piott writes "Blue Collar" Blues reviews that look at today's Blues music from the perspective of a long time lover of the Blues.

BLUESBLAST MAGAZINE
JANUARY 20, 2010


 

A long-time musical fellow traveler of guitarist Duke Robillard, Al Basile has carved out a pretty fair career for himself over the years after starting out as a poet and fiction writer out of Brown University. SOUL BLUE 7 marks the lucky number seven project Basile has done on his
own, this one an amalgamation of blues, jazz and funk with a touch of reggae tossed into the mix during the start of “Causing Joy.”

“Housekey Blues” gets the party started with an R&B groove flavored with some jazz overtones via Bruce Katz’ B-3 solo and a little six string help of the aforementioned Duke Robillard. Katz’ gets a lot of spotlight, be it on the funk-driven “Give It Like You Got It” or tickling the ivories
during “Dollar To A Dime,” both of which would be right at home at some after hours beer garden. Doug James welds a tenor sax solo into “You Showed Me Something,” with back-up help from Basile’s cornet work. “Wrong Love”  sounds like a descendant of Stax Records as the entire brass section tears into the blues of “Lonely Are The Brave.”

Eclectic is an overused word, yet it fits on SOUL BLUE 7. Just as your stomach is happy when they open the buffet for lunch, so, too, your ears will be delighted when this disc is served at room temperature.

Peanuts
JAZZ & BLUES REPORT
JANUARY 2010


Al Basile and Darrell Nulisch don't sound the same except in the broadest sense: they're white men performing in styles invented by African Americans. I don't hear the phrase "blue-eyed soul" much anymore, presumably because long ago it lost whatever meaning it once was supposed to convey. The two discs under review here are admirably performed and emotionally persuasive, and what more is music about?
Nulisch, a veteran who sings with conviction and nuance, is of a long line of Euro-American soul/r&b singers who once upon a time -- though it is curiously unremembered, in the mid- to latter 1960s -- figured prominently on the Top 40. Now guys like him play the blues and jazz circuit. Nulisch, in fact, is a founding member of the Dallas-based Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets and later a singer for Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters. The credentials are impeccable, and Just for You is the work of a pro.

Nulisch's music, with its echoes of Bobby "Blue" Bland, Sam Cooke and Ray Charles, is framed in punctuating horns and sinewy guitar licks and propelled by sweet/tough vocals. It's focused -- in common with nearly all r&b -- on romantic relationships, mostly failed ones. Even the celebratory songs, which pop music more often than not drenches in syrup, feel gritty, true and lived-in sincere.

A man of many parts (one of them novelist), Basile is a trumpeter/cornetist, a vocalist, and a songwriter. Soul Blue 7, which showcases them all, is blues and soul, but the jazz gives the sound a special kick. (Consider, for but one example, the dazzling "You Showed Me Something.") At moments, Basile brings Mose Allison and even Van Morrison to mind, not because he's an imitator but because he's the product of the same influences, with a comparable musical and literary intelligence. Lest there be any doubt what the former might be, an interior photograph captures a shelf housing some of his CD collection, and it's sufficient to cause me to swoon with envy. The only discs I don't covet are the ones I already have.

Basile was a trumpeter in the original Roomful of Blues, founded by Duke Robillard, who produces Soul Blue 7 with his characteristic flair. Basile went on to play with the likes of Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Johnny Shines, Big Joe Turner and Helen Humes, each with his or her quite distinctive vision of the blues tradition. The sum of its influences and much more, Soul Blue 7's sound is always bright, swinging and smart. While the traditions are always happily in evidence, the music Basile creates is very much his own, at once of the moment and outside time. The pleasure is entire.


 

I was only familiar with Al Basile through his work with Roomful of Blues. He's a much more talented man than I knew. He's a successful writer of poetry and novels as well as an emotive vocalist. This album reunites Basile with his former band mates and introduced me fully and surprisingly to a player that's ample in a mixture of styles. His vocals are reminiscent of a less throaty friend - Duke Robillard who is both producer and guitarist on the entire album. Mixing 50s urban-styled blues, classic R&B, soul, and even a bit of funk and reggae; there isn't a style that Basile is afraid to draw from. With only one sour spot on the disc, a pop-soul Bacharach sounding tune called "Fool Me Again," the album is one of the top contemporary releases of the year. Katz and Robillard again prove they are one of the finest for their respective instruments and Basile shows us all that coronet and trumpet players exist in the blues. Basile is one of its masters. He's also up for a BMA for his abilities and this disc is a fine demonstration of them. 


Juke Joint Soul
Ben the Harpman
December 12, 2009


 

Al Basile has released a series of quality “roots” CDs since the mid to late 90’s of which “Soul Blue 7” is the seventh.

As is usual, with any Basile recording, this set is full of exemplary song writing, soulful vocals, superb cornet and a plethora of top-notch musicians culled from the Duke Robillard Band and fellow Roomful Of Blues alumni.

The cover of the CD shows Basile sitting, cornet in hand, in front of racks of CDs by the likes of Big Bill Broonzy, Louis Armstrong, T-Bone Walker, Bobby Bland, SRV, Albert King, Lonnie Johnson, Allen Toussaint, Tom Rush, ZZ Hill et al – giving the listener an idea of the range of influences that he brings to his music – this set being no exception to the rule.

The set opens with the moody West Coast styled “Housekey Blues”, the horns of Rich Lataille, Doug James and Carl Querfurth grooving soulfully allowing Basile’s melancholy vocals and cornet to set the mood which is echoed by Robillard’s  moaning guitar and Bruce Katz’s organ, all underpinned by the superb rhythm section of  Mark Teixeira and Marty Ballou.

“Dollar To A Dime” mines a moody, horn fuelled, 50’s R&B groove replete with mellifluous cornet, fat-toned guitar and cascading piano – “You Showed Me Something” remains in that groove, but is more jazz orientated, with Robillard’s beautifully understated guitar echoing Basile’s smoky vocals and cornet – whilst “Causing Joy” has a mesmerising Reggae feel.

The soulful side of Basile is evident on “Where Are You Tonight?” which melds the influences of Al King and Chuck Willis and comes replete with a breathy sax solo from Gordon Beadle – whilst “Give It Like You Get It” is a Stax inspired horn fuelled stomper with percolating organ and gritty vocals and cornet.

“Today’s Your Birthday” is a joyous blend of rock’n’roll and R&B – whilst the bluesier elements of Basile’s work are evident in “Lonely Are The Brave” with it’s Magic Sam inspired guitar, baying horns and desolate cornet and vocals – and “Termites In My Basement”, a downhome masterpiece that melds the influence of Silas Hogan with Sonny Boy 1 styled harp (Sugar Ray Norcia) and in the gutter piano and guitar.

If you haven’t yet been acquainted with Al Basile’s music, I urge you to buy this CD – I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. 

Blues in Britain
Rating 9
Mick Rainsford


 

You can add Al Basile’s name to that super short list of trumpeters who play and sing the blues; a list that begins (as does the history of jazz/blues trumpet itself) with Louis Armstrong and includes “Hot Lips” Page, “Wingy” Manone and Louis Prima. A resident of the Northeast, Basile became friends in high school with Duke Robillard and, in 1973-75, became a member of Roomful of Blues as its first trumpeter. Reunited here with Robillard (as producer/player), Basile plays cornet on the disc’s 13 originals with terrific backing by ROB alumni. Things get off to a terrific start with “Housekey Blues,” a double-entendre item, whose groove is enhanced by Basile’s solid playing and singing, solos by both Robillard and organist Bruce Katz, plus superb riffing by the two-saxes/one-trombone horn section. (In fact, the riffing here is even better than most of the last few ROB discs.) Basile notes that his music “is influenced by but not restricted to the blues,” and except for the other blues, “Termites in My Basement,” there’s a variety of soul/bluesy pop here—all of it very tasty. Great lyrics (all his), solid playing—what’s not to like?

California "Chico News and Review"

This musician’s resume reads a bit like a fantasy: trumpet chair in Roomful of Blues, schoolteacher, composer of musicals, army veteran and novelist. Yes, novelist. But Al Basile has been working the backstreets and learning for forty years, never stopping the forward momentum it takes to find new outlets. He began playing trumpet with Roomful in 1973, having been friends with original guitarist Duke Robillard since their teenage years. What marks Basile’s character is there is nothing he lets restrict him. It’s one thing to be part of a horn section, but another to step out front to become vocalist in his own group. During the years as a teacher, he always kept the idea of someday making his own albums at the top of his list of something to do. In the mid-90s he recorded his debut release, Down On Providence Plantation, and has never stopped. Soulblue7 is deep in the groove, with Al Basile’s songs finding a whole new depth and dynamic. “Housekey Blues” captures the hopeless loss of romance, while “Where Are You Tonight?” is about as heartbreaking as the blues gets. Basile no doubt uses his novelist’s eye for detail when writing lyrics, but he never lets that talent get in the way of emotion. His songs hit hard, and sound like they’ve been road-tested the past half-century. Producer Robillard knows his way around a band as good as any guitarist alive, and puts together a deadly bunch for this set. Organist Bruce Katz is a killer, laying in thick chords of passion on most of the songs, while the horn section is as inventive as you’d expect for a crowd of Roomful of Blues alumni. Even Sugar Ray Norcia’s harp cameo on “Termites in My Basement” takes things to the limit, and finishes off these 13 songs with a low-down strut through the danger zone. Al Basile is someone who can deliver on a variety of stages, but when it comes to rhythm & blues, he’s proven himself a handy man of the highest order. Pay up.

Bill Bentley
Sonic Boomers
11/04/2009 


The inner sleeve photo - a close-up shot of Al Basile’s CD collection - is revealing: lots of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Bobby Bland, T-Bone Walker, Pee Wee Crayton, Louis Jordan and a shelf full of Louis Armstrong. Yes, the cornetist-singer-bandleader is a bluesman to the bone. The Roomful of Blues alum has concocted a collection of clever, appealing originals here that is authentically in the spirit of his heroes. Drummer Mark Teixeira (not the Yankees first baseman) makes this blues-drenched material feel good with wide backbeats and real-deal shuffles, while guitarist-producer Duke Robillard adds stinging licks on “Housekey Blues,” the mournful “Lonely Are the Brave” and the Stax/Volt-ish “I Hope You’re Right.”

Versatile organist-pianist Bruce Katz is the MVP on this session while Basile, alto saxophonist Rich Lataille and baritone ace Doug James comprise a potent horn section behind the leader’s soulful vocals. Basile contributes several simple, direct cornet solos throughout, with a fondness for mutes and plungers, and harmonica master Sugar Ray Norcia wails on the rootsy closer, “Termites in My Basement.”

Bill Milkowski
Jazz Times    

November 2009 


Al Basile is best known for his association with fellow Roomful of Blues alumnus Duke Robillard, who hired Basile to be the band’s first trumpet player in 1973. The two left Roomful of Blues decades ago, but they helped forge a brand of jump blues and swing that continues to drive the current version of the Rhode Island band, as well as the recordings Basile and Robillard have made together over the years.

Basile began working again with Robillard in the late Eighties, both as a performer and a songwriter. For his seventh solo album since his 1998 debut, Basile again recruited Robillard to handle production and play guitar. Several other Roomful alumni are along for the ride, primarily the rest of the horn section: trombonist Carl Querfurth and sax players Rich Lataille and Doug James. Keyboardist Bruce Katz, drummer Mark Teixeira, and bassist Marty Ballou - plus guests Gordon Beadle and Sugar Ray Norcia - round out the band.

Make no mistake, though: Basile is a frontman in his own right. He’s a smooth singer and a fiercely original songwriter who freshens vintage styles through the strength of his lyrics. Witness this killer line about a cheating lover in “You Showed Me Something”: “I saw you sittin’ with that skinny friend you used to see/And where he had his hand is not a place where a friend should be.” The song is punctuated by jazz-laced trumpet, sax, and piano solos. From the other end of the relationship spectrum comes the uptempo “I Hope You’re Right,” a pop song about a man whose woman has more faith in him than he does in himself. And when Basile takes a step away from the expected on “Causing Joy,” it’s a revelation to hear musicians steeped in swing dig into a loping reggae groove. Call it Bob Marley by way of T-Bone Walker.

Michael Cote
Blues Revue
Dec/Jan 2010  


AL BASILE: soulblue7
Sweetspot 8812 (64:45)
Housekey Blues/ Dollar To A Dime/ You Showed Me Something/ Lonely Are The Brave/ I Hope You’re Right/ Causing Joy/ This Dream (Still Coming True)/ Where Are You Tonight/ Wrong Love/ Give It Like You Get It/ Fool Me Again/ Today’s Your Birthday/ Termites In My Basement
Duke Robillard hired Al Basile in 1973 as first trumpet in Duke’s Rhode Island based outfit Roomful Of Blues. As well as being an accomplished trumpet and cornet player and singer, he is also a published novelist and poet. This is his seventh solo release.
Basile plays cornet on this set, does all the vocals, and wrote all the songs and (with Doug James) penned all the horn arrangements. (In case you are unsure of the difference between a cornet and a trumpet [I was] here it is: ‘Cornet – a brass wind musical instrument, created in France about 1830 by adding valves to the post horn. It is usually in B flat and is the same size as the B flat trumpet, but has a more conical bore. The cornet has a less brilliant tone but greater agility than the trumpet). Vocally Basile does not have a huge range, but he works well within the limitations of what he has. However it is as a songwriter he really shines, perfectly crafted, clever, thoughtful, witty lyrics, allied to sympathetic charts that swing at a range of tempo, with their pedigree always firmly in soul, blues, r&b and jazz.
Duke Robillard produced and plays guitar, Bruce Katz handles keyboards, saxmen Doug James and Rich Lataille, and trombone player Carl Querfurth (all Roomful alumni) make up the horns, and Marty Ballou and Mark Teixeira play bass and drums respectively. Recordings took place at Robillard’s Duke’s Mood Room studio early 2009.
If you are a Roomful Of Blues fan then this disc will slot in perfectly alongside the Roomful discs on your shelves. Lead in number ‘Housekey Blues’ swings at a mid tempo on a bluesy tale of anticipation leading to disappointment, the horns riff sweetly and Duke takes us out. ‘Dollar To A Dime’ ups the tempo a tad, with the horns playing an answering riff pattern to the vocal parts and Basile’s cornet solo nods in the direction of Miles Davis. ‘You Showed Me Something’ takes us into jazz territory with more of that Miles-inspired cornet, Katz shows off his jazz chops.
Blue-eyed soul is the order of the day on ‘I Hope You’re Right’, allied to a funky Robillard groove. ‘Causing Joy’ utilises a reggae riff on a pop-inspired number, Motown is the inspiration for ‘This Dream’, and ‘Where Are You Tonight’ is the kind of song that Otis Redding could surely have done the business with. It’s back to the blues with ‘Give It Like You Get It’; Basile’s muted cornet solo perfectly reprised by Robillard’s statement.
‘Today’s Your Birthday’ is a foot tapper that features the horns and another Miles-ish chorus from Basile. The final track, ‘Termites In My Basement’, is an acoustic country blues with Sugar Ray Norcia guesting on blues harp, Duke on acoustic guitar and Katz’s piano. ‘You know my beams is weakenin’ baby, pretty soon my floors are gonna bow; folks you know then termites is killing me, I got big trouble down below’. In the spirit of Sonny and Brownie’s New York country blues, this is a complete departure from what has gone below, and it’s a perfect ending to a really nice album.
This is a fine CD, intelligent lyrically (dare I mention the name of Percy Mayfield here?), allied to top notch, tasteful playing by all concerned. If you are a Roomful fan you’ll need to have this CD.
Phil Wight





Former Roomful of Blues trumpet player Al Basile is a man of many talents. He’s a published poet, singer, musician and songwriter for people like Duke Robillard. For his seventh CD (hence the title), which was also produced by Robillard, he pushes his singing and trumpet playing to the fore. With a studio band made up of Roomful of Blues alumni, the result is a swinging and classy affair. The thing about great musicians is that they make it sound so easy, and the relaxed jams have a spontaneous and relaxed feel to them. But this is not some bland jazz CD, as Basile is a great Blues singer in his own right. Tracks like “Where Are You Tonight?” just ooze soul, and it also allows some of the other band members to shine. This man can sing the Blues all right! The wonderfully titled “Termites in My Basement”, that closes the record, is pure Blues, and full credit must go to Sugar Ray Norcia for some sizzling harmonica. It’s a classy and fitting end to what is a Blues record of the highest quality. Basile swings like a winner.

Jamie Hailstone
Blues Matters


Got a neat CD through the mailbox last week. Long-time Roomful of Blues trumpet player/arranger/author Al Basile has released Soul Blue 7, co-produced by his long-time friend and bandmate Duke Robillard.

It's a tough disc to peg down. Musically, there are strong blues and jazz elements throughout, with some AC pop and reggae throw in.

Vocally, Basile comes across in the Tony Bennett school, with some real warmth to his tone. Even when Basile dips heavily into the soul/blues side of the equation lyrically and musically, his own tone tends to bring the proceedings back into the realm of jazz.

It's a solid CD, driven by some very clever, earnest songwriting. 

Jeremy Loome
Edmonton Sun
October 28, 2009


 

Have you heard Al Basile’s new release, Soul Blue 7, from Sweetspot Records? The album was produced by Duke Robillard and recorded in Duke’s Mood Room. Duke also provides the acoustic guitar work and the electric guitar work for the project. You really need to check out I Hope You’re Right. This number has it. The lyrics of the song talk about the faith a woman has for her man, even though he doesn’t think he can live up to her expectations. In addition to Duke expertise in guitar work on Soul Blue 7, Sax Gordon Beadle provides the tenor sax solo on one of the numbers, and Sugar Ray Norcia provides the harmonica work on another. It is not surprising that Duke Robillard has a heavy hand in Al Basile’s new project. In 1969, when they first met, a change in Al’s artistic direction was made. Originally a poet and fiction writer, who had a master’s degree in Brown University’s Creative Writing program, he began his performing career in 1973 when Duke hired him as the first trumpet player for Roomful of Blues. Al began his solo career in 1998.

Michael Little
Beach Music 45
October 2009 


 

When listening to Al Basile's latest work Soul Blue 7 you would be very hard pressed to call it blues. It's more or less from the big band era of Louis Armstrong.

Enlisting players like Duke Robillard and Bruce Katz further fulfill Al's vision of original compositions that swing with jazz grooves and croon like balladeer soul. Basile's cornet playing lives for the past of a post Depression America.

Opening cut "House Key Blues" sets the course as it coasts along on a wave of jazzy after hours smoke. With Robillard's guitar punctuations and Katz' organ runs permeating the rest of the tracks, the old jazz traditions are further honored.

Even Duke Ellington himself would love to jam on "Dollar On A Dime”. Robillard's guitar work adds texture when put against a bands brass sounds. Katz' piano jazz fills are the cornerstone of the urbanized jazz track "You Showed Me Something”. Robillard cuts loose with a solo in a slow and ominous "Lonely Are The Brave”.

Basile may be center-stage with the songwriting. But he doesn't project screaming me attitudes and hot-dog tendencies that would otherwise ruin a solid piece of work.

There's a spirited optimism in an up-tempo jaunt of "I Hope You're Right”. Even a snippet of reggae makes it way into "Causing Joy" without diverting it into an unwelcome path.

The only real blues on this recording is on the last track "Termites In My Basement”. This Delta derivative stands in sharp contrast to an otherwise musical collection of jazz standards.

Those who wish to seek a respite will buy this CD if they wish to connect with the past.

Gary Weeks
SOUTHWEST BLUES – OCTOBER 2009


 

I’ve been writing this review for the better part of three weeks and I can’t figure out where I want to begin, so I will begin with my quandary.  Usually when I really love an album the words spew copiously forth and you, the unfortunate reader, gets to bear the brunt of my sometimes senseless but effusive prose.  I’m having writers block on this one because I want to make sure my words do it justice.  So here we go-  this is a freaking great album and you need to add it to your blues collection now!!!  Now that I have that out of my system, did I mention you need to go buy this CD?  

For those of you who may not be familiar with Al Basile (but should be), he’s the guy who played trumpet/cornet for Roomful of Blues (ROB) and who also has released six solo albums prior to this.  Basile’s a prolific songwriter and a spectacular cornetist and vocalist.  His gravelly voice is truly a thing to marvel over as he slips up and down the tracks he’s written for this CD.  The CD was laid down at Duke Robillard’s Mood Room in Rhode Island this past spring.  Al brings back many of the original ROB band members for his seventh and finest CD.

 The final cut on the album, “Termites in My Basement”, is a fun track showing us some of Basile’s ideas on aging.  “They ain’t gonna quit now baby, ‘til all that wood’s been gnawed away”, and “I’ve got big trouble down below”, are examples of his great double entendre-filled lyrics.  The lyrics throughout, while mostly much more serious than this, are quite thoughtful and well structured.

 The songs are all pretty much swinging, “jump” blues; jazzy, soul-filled numbers.  In “Dollar to a Dime,” we get a great example of his lyrics and strong vocal qualities delivering us a nice set of slow blues.  The following song, “You Showed Me Something”, is another superb voyage in Basile’s mind and music.  His voice and cornet are very soulful and sweet.  The thoughtful, slow blues of cuts like “Where Are You Tonight?” are really special, too.

 “This Dream (Still Coming True)” is a funkier cover of a song that Duke previously recorded from Al’s songbook.  I like Al’s take and vocals on this one better; it has a bit of a reggae flavor to it versus the jazzier style Duke recorded it in.

In addition to Basile and Robillard, you get Marty Ballou on bass, Mark Teixeira on percussion, Bruce Katz on keys, Rich Lataille and Doug James on sax, and Carl Querfurth on trombone.  Sugar Ray Norcia gives his skilled harp work on the last track and Gordon Beadle adds his sax on “Where Are You Tonight?”.

Every track here is a real winner.  No clinkers– you get your money’s worth, with 13 songs that will never make you feel like skipping ahead a track.  I’ve probably played this CD over a dozen times already.  If you are a fan of Basile’s, or if early ROB or if Duke Robillard are your thing, then this is a CD you have to get. 
 

Steve Jones
CROSSROADS BLUES SOCIETY


 

Al Basile is affectionately known as "The Bard of the Blues," and rightfully so.  An accomplished poet and fiction writer, Al was the first to get a master's degree from the Brown University Creative Writing Program.  Along with those impressive credentials, he was Duke Robillard's first-call trumpet player when Roomful Of Blues was formed, way back in 1969.  Forty years down the pike, Al has matured into a distinguished songwriter and vocalist, and his latest CD, "Soul Blues 7," is thirteen tracks that venture into somewhat different territory for him.  Oh, there's plenty of the horn-and-guitar driven bluesy cuts that he's known for, but on this set, there is a touch of jazz, reggae, and, perhaps the most down-and-dirty blues cut to ever appear on an Al Basile album.

This set was recorded in Duke Robillard's Mood Room Studio, and Duke serves as producer as well as adding guitar throughout.  And, as with virtually all of Al's previous solo outings, it's like a big family reunion for Roomful Of Blues, as Al is joined by former bandmates such as Doug James, Rich Lataille, and Marty Ballou.  They all possess that innate knowledge of "what works" on a song, as they are so familiar with each other's styles.

Al's incredible writing abilities in avenues other than songwriting invariably shows thru in his lyrics, and he tries to convey a message in as few words as possible.  Check out the leadoff "Housekey Blues," where you know somethin' ain't right when your key won't turn the lock any more.  People who aren't matched well with each other are the subject of "Wrong Love," while a man who's a bit unsure of his footing in a relationship is the theme of "I Hope You're Right."  "Causing Joy" is a reggae-inflected good time, while "Give It Like You Get It" is full of danceable, funky grooves, highlighted by Bruce Katz' keyboard work.  "You Showed Me Something" looks at cheating from the man's perspective, with an arrangement that would be right at home in a film noir Mickey Spillane thriller.

Hands down, tho, our favorite was the set-closing acoustic number, "Termites In My Basement."  It's punctuated by stellar harp work from Sugar Ray Norcia, and tackles the subject of gettin' old, with "them little buggers gnawin' on my crossbeams night and day!"
   
Al Basile has solidified his reputation as a songcrafter with philosophical looks at characters from everyday life to whom we can all relate.  Grab a copy of "Soul Blues 7" and....ENJOY!!!   

Sheryl and Don Crow
NASHVILLE BLUES SOCIETY

 


 

Like Roomful of Blues?  Then you’ll love Soul Blue 7 by their original 1970’s cornet player, Al Basile.  Produced by founding Roomful guitarist Duke Robillard, the album is a sweeping set of stylish and jazzy blues.  Basile was a poet before immersing himself in blues entertainment, and that’s apparent all through the album’s 13 selections.  Besides featuring Robillard, three veteran Roomful brass-men and keyboardist Bruce Katz are among the first class players.  Both the swinging “Dollar to a Dime” and the uptown shadowy “You Showed Me Something” could easily be archetypal Roomful songs.  The rhythms, the horns, Robillard’s and Katz’s tones—they’re all exquisite.  “Lonely are the Brave” stands out as a dangerously lowdown blues of isolation.  Basile’s voice is strong, his horn resounding with deep color.  Robillard meanwhile, drives steely notes directly into the heart of the matter.  When the extended Roomful family gets together—and they often do—the music is usually superb.  When it comes to Al Basile, every one of his seven solo albums is a gripping testament to his far-reaching talents.

HITTIN’ THE NOTE – ISSUE #63  
Tom Clarke


 

Al Basile, one of the more literate musicians to blow the cornet and on this new offering, he is very much back in the front seat with horn solos on most tunes.  His previous work featured other artists, but here Basile is clearly in command taking the vocals, trading licks with producer/guitarist Duke Robillard, and setting the tone for a wide range of tunes from the zest of “Housekey Blues” to the mid-tempo slick-feeling “This Dream.”  The latter is such an interesting work that Robillard himself has recorded two different versions of the moody composition.  As could be expected of the composer of the work, Basile makes the song his own.  As always, lyrics are front and center and Basile, a writer and poet as well as educated teacher, knows how to turn a phrase: “She’s my paper, I’m her pen, I’m a leaf, She’s the wind,” he sings on “Causing Joy.”  Though Robillard takes a bit of a backseat as producer, letting the players do their job and managing to keep everything on track in his Mood Room studio, he does step out with effective solos that demonstrate, once again, his mastery of just about every style of electric guitar playing.  In sum, this is a mature album put together by talented musicians with a focus clearly on the song, the lyrics, the presentation, and above all, lots of soul.              

Eric C. Shoaf
Vintage Guitar Magazine, December 09

 


 

With a pedigree that includes an early stint with Roomful of Blues, countless years in jazz combos and a Masters Degree in Creative Writing from Brown University, singer, songwriter and trumpet player Al Basile isn’t your typical bluesman content to rely on the same old guitar driven shuffles and boogies to deliver well worn tales. He’s also not simply a member of a horn section who steps out of the pack once in a while to add a piercing high note or two before fading back into the ensemble. Instead, he uses his deep knowledge of both jazz and blues to craft songs that not only feature his trumpet as a lead instrument but leave plenty of room for his well crafted lyrics. Like Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong and other jazz trumpeters, Basile can easily take the lead role and make his horn sing, swing, cry and moan. In his hands, the trumpet substitutes nicely for the guitars and that are the standard musical ingredient in most blues. But this is far from a solo trumpet disc.  Basile is joined on this effort by various Roomful Alums including Duke Robillard on guitar, Rich Latille and Doug James on saxophones, Carl Querfurth on trombone, Marty Ballou on bass, Mark Texeira on drums and Bruce Katz on piano and organ. With this potent back up band, Basile gets plenty of room to display his chops but also has the ammunition to mix in the other instruments to create compelling tunes. There’s everything from reggae, Causing Joy, to big horn driven ballads, Fool Me Again, to low down dirty blues, Termites in My Basement and Lonely Are the Brave, which features a desperate sounding solo from Basile that says as much as his lonesome words. But that’s not the end of the stylistic journey: Housekey Blues dips into the past with a cha-cha beat and a hot-wired guitar solo from Robillard who also rips things up on Give It Like You Get It.  There’s also a new birthday classic, Today’s Your Birthday, which rocks considerably more than the age-old standard and even some 50’s style rock on I Hope You’re Right which gets a major boost from the ice cold B3 grooves. Keyboardist Bruce Katz also shines bright on This Dream (Still Coming True) with a funky b3 solo adding a greasy counterpoint to the staccato horn accents. Basile’s voice is just as assured as his horn playing and he navigates this varied musical backdrop with ease. With more trumpet on each song than usually found on entire discs but with solid blues roots, this release should inspire other horn players to consider taking on the blues in a lead role.  

(C) 2009, Mark Smith
BluesSoource.com

 


 

Soul Blue7   3/3
O's Notes: Al is a blues man. He sings, plays the trumpet/cornet and writes all of his tunes. He is from the Northeast but we can hear a lot of New Orleans in his music. That is a result of his heavy influence by Louis Armstrong and his band, especially producer and guitarist Duke Robillard. The lyrics span all aspects of love: cheating, loving, hurt, pain and forgiveness. While Al does a fine job with his work, we're sure others will sing his blues as well. Doug James (ts, bs) keeps the horn section tight with guest Gordon Beadle (ts) adding a strong solo on "Where Are You Tonight". And we liked the addition of harmonica by Sugar Ray Norcia on "Termites In My Basement". There is soul in Soul Blue7!


O's Place Jazz Newsletter
D. Oscar  Groomes
 


 

Soul Blue 7 (Sweetspot Records) is Al Basile’s seventh release and like the previous six, it showcases his wonderful compositional skills and encompasses blues, soul, jazz, swing, pop, and even reggae. It also features most of the original Roomful of Blues line-up (including Duke Robillard on guitar) in support, which is never a bad thing. Basile started out as a writer, composing songs as well as novels and poetry. Music has always been a part of his life though. He started playing trumpet as an eight-year-old and has played with Robillard since their teenage years. Forty years later, their interplay is seamless.

Basile wrote all 13 songs, ranging from the easy swing of “You Showed Me Something,” to the funky R&B of “Dollar To A Dime” (which features a smooth trumpet solo from Basile and sparking piano from Bruce Katz), to the opener, “Housekey Blues,” which has a New Orleans second-line feel. “Causing Joy” features playful pop-styled lyrics with a reggae beat, and “Where Are You Tonight” is a deep soul track about a woman who causes disappointment over and over again.

Basile’s unique lyrics are particularly noteworthy on “I Hope You’re Right,” where he hopes he’s able to live up to his woman’s great expectations, and “Fool Me Again,” with a protagonist who’s waiting to be double-crossed by his lover yet again. The closing track, “Termites In My Basement,” is a traditional blues track, featuring Sugar Ray Norcia on harmonica, about growing old.

In addition to Robillard and Katz, who is superlative throughout on the keys, the band features Marty Ballou (bass), Mark Teixeira (drums and percussion), Doug James (tenor and baritone sax), Rich Lataille (alto sax), Carl Querfurth (trombone), and Sax Gordon Beadle (tenor sax solo on “Where Are You Tonight”).

Soul Blue 7 is an excellent listen from start to finish. Great songs, music, and performance make this one a keeper.

Blues Bytes
Graham Clarke


 

The seventh solo release by Al Basile, Soul Blue 7, forms a tighter bond between his poetic and storytelling lyrics and his soulful and bluesy vocals and music. He has the unique ability to affect the desired emotion from his music to complement his lyrics. 

What I find makes Al Basile's music intriguing is how his music reflects the poet and writer in him, and how he uses the music's pace and melodies to accent the poetry or the story within the lyrics.

The lead track Housekey Blues is a catchy swing tune that renders melodies in sync with the temperament  associated with the highs and lows of anticipation and excitement that you feel as you are about to surprise someone special while wondering, will they want me; in the end the excitement is dashed as the person is not there. The track Dollar to a Dime gets down and dirty with some funky blues that works its magic to his vocals as he sings "You're just about to lose a friend, Bet you a dollar to a dime." The track You Showed Me Something jazzes up the release and brings a different element to his sound as he mixes jazz and swing. Al slows it down with the track Lonely Are the Brave and he brings some soul to the release as he sings "Lonely are the fearful, and Lonely are the Brave." This is a track with depth and feeling that captures all the raw elements of his music.

Bringing the tempo up a few notches he drops in the track I Hope You're Right and has fun projecting his vocals on top of a rollicking melody; this will surely have you singing along and smiling. Causing Joy has some pop and jazz undertones that meld together nicely to carry the pace for his poetic lyrics "She's my paper, I'm her pen, we're up to our old tricks again." Moving deftly between formats he brings back the blues with the track This Dream (Still Coming True) and another great story of love lost. Where Are You Tonight is a soul ballad that captures the heart of the listener through his poignant lyrics "When I told you that I Love you, you said you loved me too.....I still have to wonder, where are you tonight." 

He brings the release home with the tracks Wrong Love a pop song mixed with some synthesized jazz to create an alluring composition; Give It Like You Get It  is a bluesy track carried by Al's expressive lyrics as he belts out "You have to give it like you get it when the getting' gets good." Other tracks include Fool Me Again with a great baritone sax to create the mood; Today's Your Birthday featuring the horn section front and center complemented by a hard driving baseline; and the release closes out with Termites in my Basement that opens with a haunting harp playing the blues, the type of blues that come from the feeling of getting old and seeing things pass you by "Termites in my basement, whole lotta work goin' on down there....I'm gonna have to leave here, and say goodbye to all my dreams."

Al Basile's music is a series of short stories, and he crafts his music in a way to ensure the right mood and feeling complements the lyrics to make each story come alive.  

Luxury Experience Review
Edward F. Nesta


Soul Blue 7 (SweetSpot Records) is Al Basile’s seventh release and like the previous six, it showcases his wonderful compositional skills and encompasses blues, soul, jazz, swing, pop, and even reggae.  It also features most of the original Roomful of Blues line-up (including Duke Robillard on guitar) in support, which is never a bad thing.  Basile started out as a writer, composing songs as well as novels and poetry.  Music has always been a part of his life though.  He started playing trumpet as an eight-year-old and has played with Robillard since their teenage years.  Forty years later, their interplay is seamless.  

Basile wrote all thirteen songs, ranging from the easy swing of “You Showed Me Something,” to the funky R&B of “Dollar To A Dime” (which features a smooth trumpet solo from Basile and sparking piano from Bruce Katz), to the opener, “Housekey Blues,” which has a New Orleans second-line feel.  “Causing Joy” features playful pop-styled lyrics with a reggae beat, and “Where Are You Tonight” is a deep soul track about a woman who causes disappointment over and over again.  

Basile’s unique lyrics are particularly noteworthy on “I Hope You’re Right,” where he hopes he’s able to live up to his woman’s great expectations, and “Fool Me Again,” with a protagonist who’s waiting to be double-crossed by his lover yet again.  The closing track, “Termites In My Basement,” is a traditional blues track, featuring Sugar Ray Norcia on harmonica, about growing old.

n addition to Robillard and Katz, who is superlative throughout on the keys, the band features Marty Ballou (bass), Mark Teixeira (drums & percussion), Doug James (tenor and baritone sax), Rich Lataille (alto sax), Carl Querfurth (trombone), and Sax Gordon Beadle (tenor sax solo on “Where Are You Tonight”).

Soul Blue 7 is an excellent listen from start to finish.  Great songs, music, and performance make this one a keeper.

PHOENIX BLUES SOCIETY - BLUESBYTES
Graham Clarke
 


There aren’t too many discs released these days by guys who play cornet. But then Al Basile, poet, novelist, and former member of famed Roomful of Blues, has some pretty high-profile friends to call upon when it comes time to record.

On hand for Soul Blue 7 – yes, it’s his seventh solo outing, and soul -blue is an accurate description of contents – are guitarist and producer extraordinaire Duke Robillard, Roomful’s founder and the man who gave Basile his first break. Duke’s band provides the rhythm section – bassist Marty Ballou, drummer Mark Teixeira, and frequent keyboard collaborator Bruce Katz. The horn section – Doug James, Carl Querfurth, and Rich Lataille, - are all fellow Roomful alumni. Sugar Ray Norcia, who led that esteemed outfit for a time, adds harmonica to the disc’s closer.

With such a cast, musical excellence is pretty much a given.  These gentlemen are the cream of the crop, seemingly able to swing in their sleep, and with Robillard producing at his own Mood Room Studios, both excellent sound and a loose, relaxed atmosphere are guaranteed as well.

Which leaves, really, two factors … Basile’s vocals, and the material itself. On the former, he’s adequate – he doesn’t have a great voice, but works well within his limits. And given he wrote all the songs, it’s only natural that he approaches each with an easy-going air of effortless authority.

Basile’s compositions, on the other hand, show significantly more depth than most blues-based fare. A poet and novelist, his carefully crafted lyrics actually stand up well without the music. Here, though, they’re married to suitably understated arrangements rooted in soul and blues, with lots of jazzy touches that ensure every tune swings regardless of tempo.

Most unfold at a leisurely pace, with instrumental contributions favoring tasteful restraint rather than virtuoso display. Given his unspectacular vocals, though, a guest vocal appearance or two next time out might add a bit of color and variety to Basile’s somewhat monochromatic palette.

All in all, though, this is a fine outing, with intelligent lyrics well-matched to superbly performed and produced music. Well done!

Blogcritics.com
John Taylor


Duke Robillard has been on fire lately, not only issuing his own gems but aiding and abetting a whole raft of other very worthy artists (Sunny Crownover being just one), most often sitting in with them. Al Basile's another, but there's an unusual story here as well. Basile was a writer and poet, the first to earn a Master's from Brown University in Creative Writing, who then met and heard Robillard in 1969 and decided music was the way to go. Duke hired him in '73 as the trumpeter for Roomful of Blues, a group many reading this forum are quite familiar with, and things just grew from there.

Basile waited quite a while before going solo, meanwhile writing songs that have been picked up by others. Lately, he's been producing material used in TV and film, co-written with Robillard. 1998, however, saw his debut on the tightrope, and this is his seventh solo since—he has, as the succession of disc after disc has shown, been well accepted. Soul Blue 7 highlights the reason, a swingin' jazz-blues gig featuring Duke on guitar alongside six other gents, half of them horn players. Ah, but I haven't told you yet what axe Basile's toting: the cornet, a much ignored instrument outside classical musics but one capable of unusually muted melancholy, an instrument I see as akin to the oboe (even though the oboe looks more like a clarinet). Then there's the matter of a set of vocal chords as bluesily bopping as Robillard's fog-cutting guitar work.

Excepting a few mid-tempo tracks, the rhythm section is lush and lazy, rarely sprinting to stoke the fire, content to lay back and wallow in the mode, barroom boozy. Basile's blues croon lofts above it all and, though he wields that exotic little horn of his to great effect, singing is his gig. This means we have to watch out, 'cause that voice is going to catch on and brass lovers will be sweating, praying he hangs onto the axe. In effect, Al's kinda going the George Benson route so far, dividing time, and that's perfectly fine. As well, the disc's cuts devote plentiful spots to the entire band, achieving a lounge atmosphere to drown in. I think more than a few will find he's also a skosh like Louis Prima, not in any of the hyperkinetic sense Prima's legend still enjoys, but in feel and tenor. And, man o man, those Robillard interludes (catch Lonely are the Brave, where Basile gets down into it on his horn as well)!

Beyond that, there's Basile's devotion to music. Check out the liner photos of his CD collection. Yow, shades of Al Kooper! A man after my own heart ('cept I dig vinyl). And that blurred statuette of Flaming Carrot on page 2 of the booklet? Way too cool. And, Al, if ya ever get to meet Bob Burden, ask to see his private sketchbooks…some very funny-ass shit, as good or better than his Flaming Carrot comix. Especially catch his Little Nemo take-offs on taco eaters.

Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
Mark S. Tucker


 

Way cool, you probably aren’t going to know what to do with this set that finds Basile drawing freely from just about anything he wants from his stops along the way.  A majordomo in blues/rock for the last 40 years, he still might not be a household name but he knows how to deliver the goods.  This set kicks it off with some skanking blues and layers on the funk and soul with a depth you just don’t expect from a white boy from Rhode Island.  A solid party record for a laid back party that you want to have some oomph handy for.  Fun stuff for “Animal House” frat boys that don’t have the gumption to go see Otis Day at the Dexter Lake Club but still want to stir it up. 

Chris Spector
Midwest Record

August 8, 2009

 

The Tinge

 

Former Roomful of Blues trumpet man Al Basile is out with another solo disc, his sixth by my count, a work that gives a whole new meaning to word eclectic. Basile’s style is in the time machine and making more jumps than the main character on the TV show “Quantum Leap” did. “Go Back Home To The Blues” back hands the project off in grand fashion with both Basile’s trumpet and guitarist producer Duke Robillard reaching into their expertise on this audio piece of advice. “Airlift My Heart” is a metaphor taken from the Berlin airlift during the Cold War and the sparkling “Can I Trust You With A Kiss?” not only shows off the brass section, but also keyboardist Bruce Katz who gets more than his fair share of spotlight during The Tinge. Basile’s influences are all over the map, including Tony Bennett, Ray Charles and vocalist Eddie “Cleanhead”Vinson, to the point of channeling the latter during “Too Slow.” Deja vu is attained via “Losing My Cool,” a first, and french kissing, cousin to the 1972 Cornelius Brothers& Sister Rose hit, “Too Late To Turn Back Now” as Bruce Katz also throws some premium piano work into the cheek to cheek special “While We’re Dancing.

Although there is a ton of good music on The Tinge, I also have to mention the liner notes and disc package by Mary Ann Rossoni, one of the better ones I’ve seen of late. During the notes regarding “While We’re Dancing,” Basile mentions his older fans lament that they don’t make songs like that anymore. If a fan of any kind of blues or jazz in the last sixty years, The Tinge is on a campaign to prove that statement wrong. Peanuts

Jazz & Blues Report
March 2008


 

Al Basile was originally a writer of poetry and fiction, and was the first to earn a master’s degree from Brown University’s Creative Writing program.  A chance meeting with Duke Robillard in the late 60’s changed his career path, and he ended up becoming the first trumpet player hired for Robillard’s legendary Roomful of Blues band.  He was fortunate to play with many blues and jazz greats, like Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson and Big Joe Turner, during his tenure with the band, but he left the group in 1975 to teach, sing, and write songs.  He reunited with Robillard in the late 80’s, and has played and written many songs for Robillard’s albums since then, while also managing to carve out a nice solo career.

The Tinge (Sweetspot Records) is Basile’s sixth solo release, and not unlike an early Roomful of Blues or solo Robillard album effortlessly moves from blues to jazz to swing.  There are a few familiar faces present that could account for those similarities, namely Mr. Robillard himself, and former Roomful mates Rich Lataille (the only original member still in the band) and Doug James. 

The songs, all Basile originals, range from “While We’re Dancing,” which has more than a touch of Satchmo present, “Too Slow,” done in the “Cleanhead” style, and “Just Wait And See,” a soulful jazz tune that gives Robillard room to stretch out.  “Airlift My Heart” benefits from a clever lyric, as does “Not The Wrong Woman.”  “Give Me The Rainbow” would be a nice fit on a Sinatra or Tony Bennett album.  “Daddy’s Got A Problem” sounds like a lost Percy Mayfield track and Robillard provides some tasty guitar.

Basile has a smooth, mellow voice and plays cornet on all the tracks.  The band, in addition to Robillard, Lataille, and James, included Bruce Katz on keyboards, Mark Teixeira on drums, and Marty Ballou on bass.  They provide wonderful support in all the various settings.  Robillard produced the disc and Lataille and James arranged the horns.  Basile’s liner notes also provide helpful insight behind the making of each song.   

The Tinge is a superlative release that will certainly please fans of blues, swing, and jazz.  

Graham Clarke
Phoenix Blues Society
BluesBytes – March 2008


Trumpet player Al Basile delves deep into musical history in the liner notes of this set by recalling Jelly Roll Morton’s explanation that jazz grew out of the Spanish Tinge which places the accents on the first, fourth and seventh beats of an eight beat pattern. Using this as a base, Basile applies the tinge to the thirteen self-penned cuts collected on this fine new disc which blurs the already fuzzy line between jazz and blues. Sounding uncannily like his old band mate Duke Robillard on vocals (who also produced and played guitar on this set) Basile applies his Master’s degree in creative writing to tales of bridging the gap between lovers, Airlift My Heart, where the muted trumpet evokes the painful divide, as well as tales of finding just the right woman, Not the Wrong Woman, where he boasts “I asked for a Jackson, she gave me three bighead Bens” over a rollicking horn driven soundtrack that recalls his early stint with Roomful of Blues. Warm organ grooves compliments of Bruce Katz fuel the thoughtful Can I Trust You with a Kiss while a buoyant beat propels Give me a Rainbow giving Basile a chance to echo Tony Bennett’s upbeat side. On Too Slow Basile and Robillard are joined by former Roomful band mates Rich Lataille and  Doug James for a slow burning jazz number that pays tribute to the time the band spent working with Eddie “Cleanhead’ Vinson. The torch keeps burning on While We’re Dancing which features Basile’s rich trumpet work behind lyrics about the simple joy of traditional cheek to cheek slow dancing. Basile turns up the heat considerably on Daddy Got a Problems where the syncopated groove and Katz’s swirling organ propel his tale of a troublesome mate who soon finds her way down the road on the slide guitar propelled, You’re Still Right (and I’m Still Gone).. Also included are gems about people who are their own worst enemy, She’s in Love with Losing, and succumbing to the allure of the opposite sex, Losing My Cool. In addition to the finely honed lyrics, what really sets this disc apart from other blues discs featuring horns is that Basile uses his trumpet as a lead instrument instead of just another part of the horn section competing for attention with the sexy saxophone. With everything from bright jazzy runs to heavily muted, low-down smoky accents, Basile recaptures the role of the trumpet as the meat of the sound, not just the gravy.  With strong, thoughtful lyrics, a crack band and a master’s touch on trumpet, Basile has crafted a terrific release.

Mark Smith
Bluessource.com


 

Add one of the most genial, invigorating albums of the year to Al Basile's sterling resume. The Tinge - so named because the artist's 13 original songs are neither fish nor fowl stylistically, but rather colored (tinged) by multiple styles, unites Basile with his first music business employer, Roomful of Blues's Duke Robillard, whose steady hand is felt as both producer and guitarist. With sax masters Rich Lataille and Doug James sitting in as well, half of the original Roomful lineup is on hand to support Basile's warm, conversational vocals and always exceptional cornet work. Advancing a nice blend of ballads and stompers, Basile offers an array of captivating textures along the way. "You're Still Right (And I'm Still Gone)" bridges grinding electric blues and roadhouse rock, with Robillard spitting out fuzz-rich solos and Bruce Katz crafting a frantic workout on the 88s in service to Basile's mock-enraged vocal attack. A rich urban blues of the mean woman variety, "Daddy Got a Problem" ("Daddy got a problem/momma won't play/daddy got a problem/mama might stray") affords Basile an opening for a discursive plunger soliloquy up front in between Robillard's stinging electric guitar sorties, robust bursts of horn punctuations, and Katz's crying, rumbling organ solos. On the tender side, "Can I Trust You With a Kiss?" features the guitar-horns-organ triumvirate in a decidedly gospel-ish, Muscle Shoals southern soul mode (circa late '60s vintage) behind a pleading Basile vocal, whereas the graceful rhythms, gentle, romantic swing and lovey-dovey lyrics of "While We're Dancing" beautifully evoke the ballroom of yore; Basile gives the narrative an ingratiating Tony Bennett-like caress courtesy his sandpapery voice and understated phrasing before closing it out with a striking, incrementally ascending cornet solo. Here, and throughout The Tinge, Al Basile had a good day at the office.

David McGee
Barnes&Noble.com


Basile Pesto At Its Besto, (02/20/08)
In 1973 Duke Robillard talked Al Basile into joining Roomful of Blues and he became the band's first trumpet player in a horn section that included Rich Lataille and Doug James. Soon after the first album's release, Robillard and Basile both left to pursue other ventures. They have remained friends and many of Basile's songs appear on Robillard's recordings. Robillard has also produced all of Basile's solo albums including this new one, The Tinge. The band on this outing consists of Basile (vocals and cornet), Robillard (guitars), Marty Ballou (bass), Mark Teixeira (drums), Bruce Katz (keyboards), Lataille (saxes), and James (saxes and clarinet). Basile wrote all of the songs while the horn arrangements are by Lataille and James. Basile brings many years of songwriting experience to this recording and he has finally defined his sound beyond the scope of genres. While 2003's Red Breath was a Jazz album and 2004's Blue Ink was a Blues album, this newest album is his most comprehensive. On The Tinge we hear Al Basile's "sound." Opening with "Go Back Home to the Blues" we know we are hearing something very special as soon as Basile takes his first cornet solo, Robillard counters with an equally impressive guitar solo. There is little music being made like this today and I am reminded of Doc Cheatham, especially on "While We're Dancing." "Too Slow" is a wonderful song structured in the style made popular by Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson with whom Basile played with as a member of Roomful of Blues. "Give Me The Rainbow" could be a Pop standard. Basile's singing has never sounded better. "Can I Trust You With A Kiss?" could be a southern Soul classic with Bruce Katz's Hammond organ and it has great potential for a duet. The horn arrangement on "Not The Wrong Woman" is outstanding and reminiscent of the old days as James, Lataille, and Basile take their solos. "Airlift My Heart" is a touching love song with great solos by Basile and Katz. "Daddy Got A Problem" and "She's In Love With Losing" tell stories of great emotional depth. The liner notes help the listener as Basile describes his motivation for each composition. The Tinge is Basile's most complete collection of songs to date and they all demonstrate Basile's personal recipe. This one is highly recommended.

Richard Ludmerer is a contributing editor at BluesWax.


 

Former Roomful of Blues member Al Basile plays cornet and sings wonderfully on this set of tunes produced by old bandmate Duke Robillard. And where Duke is, fine guitar playing can't be far behind. It all serves as a lesson in American jazz, blues and soul.

John Heidt
VINTAGE GUITAR MAGAZINE


A stealth original Roomful of Blues reunion album, Basile’s latest finds him doing anything but working a well worn groove. Giving a sly tip of the cap to Cleanhead Vinson, Basile and his pals highlight his horn work as they move around the horn from jump blues to soul and simply party on. A solid set that lets the blues have their day, Basile writes and plays like he’s at the top of his game giving any real, contemporary blues fan a sweaty roadhouse experience and more. Hot stuff.

 
Chris Spector
  MIDWEST RECORD
  January 2008  
 
 


The latest solo effort from Roomful of Blues cornet player Al Basile is one of those rare contemporary blues releases that takes smooth, jazz-flavored blues in the spirit of Cleanhead Vinson and Joe Williams and finds its own comfortable niche. Not only are Basile's vocal and playing front and center but, as a sideman, Duke Robillard's guitar work is better than ever. At its best moments, the result might be described as sounding like a great Robert Cray record. The grooves simmer and cook expertly and the playing is nothing less than top notch. Bruce Katz alternates between piano, organ and Wurlitzer while a horn section (Basile and saxmen Rich Lataille and Doug James) adds color and dynamics. The songs are moody, jumpy, in-the-pocket variations on old-style, big city blues ("Go Back Home to the Blues," "Too Slow"), R&B ("Just Wait and See"), an occasional country-flavored pop tune ("Can I Trust You With a Kiss") and what could pass for a jazz standard ("Give Me the Rainbow") that manage to never sound trite.

 

Michael Lipton
Charleston Gazette

Charlesston, WV
 


 

Al Basile is often referred to as "the Bard of the blues," and his background as a poet and fiction writer certainly validates this reference. As a musician, he was Duke Robillard's first-call cornet man when the Duke formed Roomful Of Blues, and, altho both men have long-since left that group, its influence still shows in Al's latest solo effort, "The Tinge." It is a mixture of swingin', jazz-flavored blues with just a, well, "tinge" of soul and the classic material Duke and Al were responsible for "back in the day."

A generous portion of Al's cornet is delightfully mixed in among these cuts, which also feature his smoky vocals. The horn section features Rich Lataille and Doug James, and Duke Robillard adds guitar as well as serving as the set's producer. This gives us one half of the original Roomful lineup swinging for the fences on this one. With Bruce Katz on keys, Marty Ballou on bass, and Mark Teixeira on drums, these cats cover all the bases with their vast knowledge of the various genres' presented herein.

 As on Al's previous solo effort, "Groovin' In The Mood Room," he gets a chance to show his stuff after some 35 years in the biz. Check out the muted cornet and the Duke's solo in "Just Wait And See." "Not The Wrong Woman" swings out after a cool piano intro, the horn section playing call-and-response behind Al's vocal. "While We're Dancing" and "Can I Trust You With A Kiss?" are beautiful examples of Al's sweet, jazzy cornet style. A deep blues groove and some killer slide drive "You’re Still Right, and I'm still gone." And, "Losing My Cool," with that backing horn-and-B-3 section, recalls vintage STAX-era soul.

Our favorite cut was the ultra-funky groove that sets up in the bluesy "Daddy Got A Problem." Again, Duke Robillard supplies a cool lead, and it's a sly little tune about Daddy's "problem," namely, "Mama," who has a tendency to "stray!"

 All the publications that list Al Basile as a poet only know half the story. His musicianship and clever songcrafting are impeccable, and one listen to "The Tinge" will show you why!! Until next time....Sheryl and Don Crow.

Don Crow
Blues Revue Advance Quotes
April/May 2008


Basile’s supple, natural voice is perfect for midtempo vamps, and his rich cornet playing kick starts the restrained jump blues at the core of these tunes.

The band’s loose vivacity is contagious, but it’s Robillard and Basile’s sympathetic partnership that forms the heart of this disc’s sound. These veterans clearly enjoy their meetings in the studio, and The Tinge confirms that they’re improving with age.

Hal Horowitz
Blues Revue


Originally a poet and fiction writer, Al Basile was the first to get a masters degree from Brown University’s Creative Writing program. He also wrote musicals as an undergraduate. However, he met Duke Robillard in 1969, and it changed his artistic direction for life. He began his performing career in 1973 by joining Duke as the first trumpet player in Rhode Island’s premier jump blues band, Roomful of Blues. Leaving the group in 1975, he devoted himself to teaching, singing and songwriting. Al began his own solo recording career in 1998. The Tinge is Al’s seventh album, and he is joined by Roomful of Blues’ Rich Lataille in the horn section, along with Doug James and Duke Robillard, half of the original Roomful lineup. Give Me The Rainbow, what I feel is the premiere song on the album, has a modern rhythm section with jazz piano styles of the sixties. Basile was definitely influenced by the sunny side of Tony Bennett on this one. You will also want to take note of Not The Wrong Woman. The opening song, Go Back Home To The Blues, …well, just think “Johnny Rivers”. The Tinge is on Al Basile’s own Sweetspot Records label and can be ordered directly off Al’s web site, though the CD is so new that it is not yet shown. Or you can get it from CD Baby or Amazon. 

Michael Little
BeachMusic45.com


Groovin' in the Mood Room

Ex-Roomful of Blues vocalist and cornet player Al Basile joins Duke Robillard, another alumnus of that legendary band, for his fifth disc of rock, blues, soul, and R&B. Robillard’s influence is all over this project: His less-is-more guitar work adds a juicy dollop of jazz-rock flavor to the stripped-down three-piece format. Basile also sings a bit like Robillard, and the two obviously have a similar vision. This relaxed, tremendously likeable set of songs boasts a nearly perfect combination of tunes, players, and direction.

Basile wrote all the material here, and though he acknowledges his many influences (from Chuck Berry on “Coffee and Cadillacs” to Delbert McClinton on the country-sounding “Your Rights” and Doc Pomus, whose “Little Sister” gets a nod from Basile’s “Baby Sister”), he’s never a slave to them. Aside from the startling but flawlessly conceived backward guitar solo on the low-key funk workout “I’m in a Mood,” little jumps out of the speakers with urgency. Rather, Basile and Robillard find a sweet spot and work a casual midtempo style that’s the very definition of soul-blues.

That type of comfortable, unhurried, but never nonchalant approach sounds easy, but it’s difficult to achieve in the studio. Even the comparatively rollicking “How Much Better (Better Can Get),” a straight-ahead rocker reminiscent of Robert Palmer’s version of “Bad Case of Lovin’ You,” shifts smoothly into the disc’s cruise control. And Basile really shines on ballads: The low-boil croon of “Be a Woman,” the subtly urging opener “I  Got To Be the Boss,” and the album-closing “You Satisfy” sound like great old ‘60s Muscle Shoals sides rescued from the vaults.

A playwright and fiction writer, Basile’s lyrics are sharp, and he never overthinks a song. That apparent ease is the most striking element about a set of tracks that sounds like the product of a few friends who convened at a jam session after work. Groovin’ in the Mood Room is the perfect title for an album where nothing is forced and the groove and mood come naturally.

Hal Horowitz
Blues Revue
Oct/Nov 2006




Al Basile has a genuinely raw and soulful singing voice. His latest CD, Groovin’ In The Mood Room, released by Sweetspot Records, displays that and much more. The fact that it was produced by veteran blues icon Duke Robillard, who also played guitar on its 13 tracks, has much to do with its rich flavor. This is Basile’s fifth record to date, and Robillard has played guitar on all of them. Basile’s voice is personal and pleasurable, and his songs and style are a perfect match for Robilllard’s six-string prowess.


Longtime fans of Roomful Of Blues will find an immediate attraction to the album. Basile played trumpet for the Rhode Island based blues band back in the early days, while Robillard was the original guitarist and vocalist. Al decided to lay his trumpet down in 1975, opting to spend his time teaching, writing songs, and perfecting his unrefined vocal sound. Robillard and crew then went on to experience success as one of the greatest blues club bands of all-time. In the early days, Basile was also known for his work with the likes of Big Joe Turner, Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown, and Johnny Johnson. A few of his tunes can be heard on early Robillard solo albums.

Basile’s voice evokes the styles and sounds of Kim Wilson, John Hiatt, Delbert McClinton, and that of Robillard himself. A few of the tracks on the CD are reminiscent of early Fabulous Thunderbirds, bluesy and genuine yet rocked up. Listen to ‘How Much Better (Better Can Get). Along with Basile’s brusque vocal, Robillard’s rhythm and lead playing is rockin’ and rough. I love listening to Duke when he gets into this heavy blues-rockin’ mode; it seems to bring out the best in him. ‘She’s On The Mainline’ follows, in an approach that takes the listener back to early Roomful Of Blues, horns and all (with Doug James on tenor sax). ‘Picked To Click’ is a pleasant blues number, slow yet very rhythmic. Robillard’s lead throughout is fantastic. ‘Your Turn To Pay’ gets even deeper. Basile belts out the vocal passionately, and segues nicely into Robillard’s wailing slow blues solo. He ends the song with a second solo. ‘Baby Sister’ has an interesting John Hiatt air about it. ‘I’m In A Mood’ gets experimental. Besides Robillard’s backwards guitar effect, Marty Ballou’s bass playing is standout. ‘Be A Woman’ is a pleasant blues ballad. ‘You Satisfy’, with Robillard singing backup, is a satisfying end to this great album.

Robillard’s band, Marty Ballou on bass, Mark Teixeira on drums, Bruce Bears on organ, and Doug James on tenor sax, rounds out the CD. Al’s also a known cornet player, and plays the instrument on ‘She’s On The Mainline’. Though Groovin’ In The Mood Room is, without a doubt, a Duke Robillard album just as much an Al Basile, these two performers are definitely a combined effort and make wonderful music together. The album contains a lot of great blues, rock, soul, r&b, funk, and even a little jazz, and it exerts an all around pleasant groove. 

Brian D. Holland
Modern Guitars Magazine
December 07, 2006



With his fellow Roomful of Blues alumnus Duke Robillard as guitarist and producer, Al Basile here gets to show off his considerable skills as a singer and songwriter. (He plays trumpet on only one cut.) As with any project Robillard is involved in, this is a deliciously masterful excursion through American roots idioms, from swaggering rock-and-roll to soul-dripping balladry, with blues, country, swing, and even a touch of psychedelia in between.

Nick Cristiano
Philadelphia Inquirer


Basile's fifth CD plumbs his close relationship with Duke Robillard more than any other. Produced by Robillard in his home studio (aka the "Mood Room"), and using the core of Robillard's own touring band, the recordings have the jump swing feel one would expect of those musicians but is overlain with rich lyric imagery from Basile who wrote all the songs here. What else would the listener expect from an Ivy League educated writer of poetry, fiction and a lyricist who has been performing for the past 35 years? Though he originally joined Robillard's band as a trumpet player, Basile has contributed lyrics to dozens Robillard's recordings. Imagery here is firmly in the blues realm, but the adult stance, the economy of storytelling, and high level of craftsmanship shows a maturity seldom found in this genre. Basile provides all the vocals here, and stylistically he owes a lot to the Robillard influence, growling and emoting with fire at times while whispering steely lines at others. Packaging includes full liner notes, complete lyrics plus Basile's commentary about each song helps one appreciate the sources of material. Really the only thing missing here is Basile's horn playing. Only one of the tracks features horns and
Basile, who has performed on many of Robillard's CD releases, can really blast. Take a listen to "This Dream" from Duke's Temptation release (Pointblank 1994) for just one example. On the other hand, horns would be superfluous on many of the tracks on Basile's latest, so we'll just assume he's saving it for another time. This is one of the most literate blues records ever released.

Eric Shoaf
Vintage Guitar Magazine


With a voice that evokes long time friend and occasional band mate, Duke Robillard, singer, writer and trumpet player Al Basile has crafted a compelling collection of blues that have a modern lyrical sensibility but are firmly rooted in the sounds of the past. Recorded in Robillard's Mood Room studios with a crack band including Robillard on guitar, Marty Ballou on bass, Mark Teixeira on drums, Bruce Bears on organ and fellow former Roomful of Blues band mate Doug James on tenor sax, the musical backdrop of this disc accomplishes Basile's stated goal of getting your groove bone in motion. Most of the credit for the rollicking good time goes to Robillard who seems to relish serving a sideman's role. Stepping out of his role as band leader, he seems looser and more energetic than on many of his own releases.

While there is much to like here "I'm in the Mood" features a backward guitar track that is a sonic delight while "How Much Better (Better Can Get) rocks with an abandon that recalls Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues." The rest of the band kicks into high gear when it needs to and compliments Robillard's tricky syncopated rhythms with well placed fills that are spare, yet effective. Basile also adds some instrumental flair on the soulful "She's on the Mainline" where he dusts off his trumpet to add some well placed grease to the groove.

While lots of discs feature top rank musicians, what makes this one stand out are the well crafted lyrics that reveal Basile's long stint as a teacher. Instead of simply recycling verses from the blues cliché songbook, he often takes a look from another angle. Countless bluesmen have lamented bad luck, bad whisky and bad women as the source of their problems. On "I Got to be the Boss" Basile turns the equation around and looks at himself as responsible for most of what happens in his life. On "Picked to Click" he cleverly connects to pieces of blues lore while giving himself some modern distance by going through the laundry list of things he's missing like mojo, conquer root, hot foot powder and the like. "Your Turn to Pay" is a flat out blues lament about the biting pain of 20/20 hindsight regarding a relationship he shouldn't have abandoned.

While the path he walks isn't new fodder for the blues, seldom has it been done with such sharp self realization. "The Show Must Go On" cuts the legs out from under no good double talking folks who have an answer for everything while "Your Rights" is a countrified, Delbert McClinton influenced, look at tattered relationships. "Coffee and Cadillacs" is a rollicking, cautionary tale for every blues musician who has been screwed by a flashy manager. Overall, this is a terrific disc that deserves a good chunk of time on your player.

Mark Smith
BluesSource.com


Al Basile: new CD shows him to be a talented singer-songwriter

Providence Journal



A long time Duke Robillard associate that checked out of the Roomful of Blues a long time ago but never cut his ties with Robillard is back with a sort of follow-up to last year's collaboration between the two. Well-played adult pop with the touches you expect from Robillard running all through the proceedings and Basile pulling his weight just as well, it's the kind of set tailor made for satellite and internet play because it's the kind of music that you freak over when you get the chance to - discover it for yourself. Fun, rousing stuff that opens the ears and delivers the goods. Trust these brand names on board and you can't go wrong.

Midwest RecordRecap.com



Show and tell time: there are hundreds of blue-eyed soul singers as good as Taylor Whatever from American Idol. They're out there right now in our great country, singing their hearts out to an indifferent audience, maybe in a Holiday Inn or big city nightclub, hoping to keep their gig and self-re- spect intact. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but you really can't sing this style of rhythm & blues without a big heart and a good deal of delusion, because the odds are against breaking through to the big time. Enter Al Basile, who approached this trade from the other side. After attending graduate school in the creative writing program at Brown University, Basile became the first trumpet player in the original Roomful of Blues. That's where he met album producer and guitarist extraordinaire Duke Robillard. They attack these tracks with a ferocious feeling, elevating it above the dance floor into a real creation. Discounting the fact these songs, as good as they are, are never going to be become soul standards, Al Basile proves there's more than one way to skin a cocktail onion, and graduate degree or not, he has the credentials that make this music one of our national treasures.

Bill Bentley
Studio City Sun



If John Hiatt ever has a notion to hire a sound double to fulfill a contractual obligation, he need look no further than Al Basile. Not only is Basile a dead ringer vocally, but as a published poet and a holder of a master's degree from Brown University in creative writing, he has the same ability to turn a clever phrase.


Basile, a cornetist and vocalist, revives his nearly 40-year musical partnership with Duke Robillard for "Groovin' in the Mood Room," his fourth solo CD. Robillard, his old bandmate in Roomful of Blues, contributes his great axmanship and production talents.


While Basile's three previous albums featured members of Robillard's band, "Groovin' " utilizes a more stripped-down combo, giving Basile more room to stretch out musically. As a result, Basile is freer to express his roots-rock, jazz and second-line funk sensibilities.

Jeff Johnson
Chicago Sun-Times


Vocalist/cornetist and former Roomful of Blues member Al Basile's fifth CD Groovin' in the Mood Room (Sweetspot) combines dynamic jump blues, boogie and swing, and serves as a fine showcase for Basile's smooth, swinging voice. "I Got To Be The Boss" addresses the age-old question of exactly who will be in charge in any situation, while "'Picked To Click" examines the equally venerable issue of whether famed magical potions really work and "Your Turn to Pay" is a prototype payback tale. Basile's "Baby Sister" and "Coffee and Cadillacs" are among the songs that display his affection for Chuck Berry. He contributes some hot cornet work on "She's On The Mainline," while guitarist Duke Robillard (who also produced the CD), bassist Marty Ballou, and drummer Mark Teixeira comprise the main rhythm section. Saxophonist Doug James also chips in on "She's On The Mainline," while organist Bruce Bears adds soulful choruses and bottom to "Baby Sister" and "Be A Woman.''

Ron Wynn
Nashville City Paper Online


Like Nick Curran, Dave Gross is building a formidable reputation as a purveyor of blues and R&B that is rooted mainly in the 40s and 50s. Blessed with a natural blues voice and a compelling guitar technique, Gross brings all of his talents to bear on "Take The Gamble," which was produced by Duke Robillard at "Duke's Mood Room," and which features Duke himself on three tracks. The cast of musicians assembled to back Gross on this set makes impressive reading - artists like Doug James (baritone and tenor sax), Al Basile (cornet), Dennis Gruenling (harp), Don'a Oxford (piano and organ), Arthur Neilson (upright bass) and Mark Texeira (drums) will be familiar names to most of the readers of this magazine, who will recognize that their musical roots are grounded in the eras that Gross is influenced and inspired by.


Gross sets out his stall from track one, opening with a jumping rendition of Gatemouth Brown's "She Walks Right In," a call and response slab of R&B that displays Gross's powerhouse vocals and fat-toned guitar underpinned by rocking piano, jazz inflected harp and a wild baritone sax solo from James. The only other covers on this set are the jazz inflected big band R&B of "Hot Lips," Page's "Walkin' In A Daze" replete with hot tenor sax and superb jazz cornet from Al Basile, a swinging workout on T-Bone's "I Know Your Wig Is Gone" featuring hip vocals, hot tenor and more superb cornet and the 30's styled swing of "After You've Gone" which captures the era to perfection with more of Gross's hip vocals and Basile's wonderful cornet.


The other nine songs are all Gross originals, that segue seamlessly with the classic covers already discussed. "Mess On My Plate" visits New Orleans courtesy of Oxford's Fess inspired piano, James' pumping baritone sax and baleful horn charts, Gross's vocals and guitar mixing elements of T-Bone Walker and Johnny 'Guitar' Watson. Watson again coming to mind on "I'm Leavin' Baby" with it's strident guitar and cascading piano, the highlight being Gross and Duke trading licks as the number builds to a finale. "I'm So Hungry Blues" has a smokey T-Bone Feel. T-Bone again coming to mind on "Make Things Right," although this time it is laced with a downhome swampy feel.


"Once Had A Girl" is a frantic rocker with a country edge. "You Ain't Playin' Me No More" has country blues roots that are enhanced by rolling piano, resigned vocals and melancholy guitar whilst "Swingin' On All Six" does exactly that.


I can only paraphrase the title of this set and say "Take A Gamble" on Dave Gross.' I can guarantee that you won't be disappointed.
(www.DaveGrossBand.com)

 


On "Take A Gamble" I continually made reference to Al Basile's wonderful cornet playing which is a great lead in to his own latest CD "Groovin' In The Mood Room" a reference to Duke's Mood Room where it was recorded. That is not the only similarity this set has with the Gross one, as Basile's is also produced by Duke Robillard, and also features Robillard, Teixera and James supplemented by Marty Ballou (bass) and Bruce Bears (organ).


Basile has turned out a succession of fine solo CDs that have explored his soul, blues, R&B and jazz leanings - each of them featuring his exceptional ability to write great songs with great lyrics in all of those genres (his songs have been recorded by the likes of Robillard and Ruth Brown).


"Groovin' In The Mood Room" does exactly that. Opening with the churning shuffle "I Got To Be The Boss," with it's throbbing bass lines, Basile's muscular vocals echoed by Robillard's tough blues guitar - this set explores Basile's blues, swing, soul and rockabilly roots.


"How Much Better (Better Can Get)" is a stomper replete with Chuck Berry styled guitar, chanted vocals and Sandy Nelson styled drums."'She's On The Mainline" is a sleazy swinger with baying horns and hip vocals (and is also the only track where Basile brandishes his formidable cornet), whilst "Picked To Click" features Robillard's slinky guitar underpinning Basile's 'voodoo' vocals and lyrics.


"Your Turn To Pay" is a brooding soul opus, Robillard's weeping guitar echoing the pain that permeates Basile's vocals. "Baby Sister" has the feel of a 60s Stones rock ballad. "'Your Rights" is a Country Ballad with a strong Johnny Cash feel whilst "Take My Word For It" has a late 50s Presley feel replete with twangy rock 'n' roll guitar.


Add in the Arthur Alexander styled soul of "You Satisfy" where Robillard's guitar has a Robert Ward feel, the bouncy rockabilly, country 'n' roll of "Coffee and Cadillacs" and the brooding "I'm in A Mood"' and you have yet another winner from Al Basile.



Rating 9/9
Mick Rainsford
Blues in Britain


Red Breath

Red Breath is very much a swinging, straight ahead album...Like his horn, his voice exudes a warm, welcoming quality...His solos are delightful because they are thoroughly musical, mostly exploring the middle register of the horn, and never involving technical showmanship. His sound and melodic lines are everything in his playing."

Jazz Improv, Vol. 4 No. 3


shakin' the soul tree

"...Al Basile should be familiar from credits on Duke Robillard projects. This Robillard-produced solo record (Shaking the Soul Tree - Sweetspot 3882) is notable for Basile's richly inflected singing and superior, soul-centered songwriting. The midtempo 'Look Into It' boasts a stunning horn chart; 'Thirty-Five Women,' with its Latin percussion, nails the Drifters-meets-Arthir Alexander groove; 'You Know'is lush 60s pop-soul; 'Bad Intentions' struts like a stray cat."

Blues Revue


 

"...the album is a zesty representation of sweet and sassy soul, R&B, and the blues...Basile, originally a fiction writer, proves to be an excellent lyricist, too, on the animated 'Rueful Rules' and 'Lorelei'...a multi-dimensional listen with lots of really cool licks."

The Providence Phoenix



"Fat R&B vibes, groove, Blues, swing and even some haunting pictures
evoked by his vocals and guitar playing make this a diverse treat for
many tastes, which include mine! Favorites are "Rueful Rules", "Drive Me
Darling", "One Step Closer", "Ain't That A Man".

Simon Aguilar
KYNR, Crazy Coyote Blues


Down On Providence Plantation

Al Basile began his performing career in 1973 as first trumpet player with Roomful Of Blues, through whom he met Duke Robillard, for whom, after reuniting with him in the late 80s, he has written songs that have featured on Duke's releases on Rounder, Stony Plain, Pointblank and Shanachie.

Robillard returned the favour by backing Basile on his solo CD debut, Down On Providence Plantation, and Basile has turned to his old friend again to not only produce the set but along with his band, John Packer (bass), Jeff McAllister (drums), Doug James (baritone sax / bass clarinet) and Sax Beadle (tenor sax), augmented by Tom West (piano, B3 and sampled harpsichord), provide the quality and soulful backing Basileís music deserves.

The set opens with "Leave A Good Thing Alone", a Stax / Memphis soul hybrid on which Basile's naturally soulful vocals are underpinned by a great band performance replete with funky sax and tough, uncompromising guitar (Robillard), continuing with the introspective soul of "Look Into It", where Basile's melancholy vocals are accentuated by haunting B3 and baying horns. "Rueful Rules" is a slow funky drag with mournful horns, West's B3 and Robillard's intricate and tantalizing guitar fills adding a deep soul textures to Basile's wry vocals.

Several of the songs are infused with the spirit of Arthur Alexander; "After The Fall" with its shimmering guitar and poignant vocals and horns, the reflective, and deeply soulful "You Scare Me", and the moodily defiant "I Picked Her Up" are all gems that will appeal to soul fans of all persuasions. "Brand New Fool" is a lowdown funky slab of R&B with hard riffing horns and rolling piano; Basile's sly vocals perfectly complement his tale of his seduction at the hands of a woman with "Bad Intentions", his experiences enhanced by his own seductive cornet, which takes on a "spooky" feel on the sleazy "Ain't That A Man', with its "voodoo"piano and percussion.

In his liner notes, Duke Robillard says that "His (Basile) appreciation for
blues, soul and gospel makes for a satisfying combination of influences",
resulting in this well crafted and deeply satisfying set.

Rating 8
Mick Rainsford

Blues In Britian

 


Down on Providence Plantation, a new disc from Al Basile, who has written for Duke Robillard. Al's disc has some very well crafted tunes and the band hits and holds a solid groove. Roomfull of Blues and Duke Robillard alumni are all over this record and if you like that sound, this CD won't disappoint you. Released by Sweetspot Records, it is Al's first (but hopefully, not last) effort. Sweetspot is Al's own label, formed to release this collection of his songs. It deserves your support.

Indie-labels.com


...Robillard's guitar is all over the record - soloing on top of a funky rhythm on "Don't Start Something", playing backwards parts on the powerful "You Brought My House Down", digging deep into the blues on "I Really Miss You" with a gritty, soulful vocal by Basile.... Basile's disc has a moody ambiance...

Providence Journal


On Down on Providence Plantation, singer/songwriter/ trumpeter Al Basile reaches way back for inspiration: back to Motown, back to gospel and soul, even all the way back to the blues. Although the set is all original material, every song is a nod to a particular musician or tradition, from the Smokey Robinson smoothness of "Bite Your Tongue" to the B.B. King urban blues of "What Your Kisses Say." Most of the tunes fall under the headings of sweet soul or blues, with an odd funk piece here ("Don't Start Something") and a rock number there ("Prove It to You").

Basile, who has previously made his mark as a horn player with Roomful of Blues, saves his breath for singing, leaving the soloing to former bandleader (and producer) Duke Robillard on guitar. Robillard's fretwork is remarkable; his nimble acoustic riffing jazzes up "When I Reach My Limit," and he scorches a blue streak across "An Understanding Heart."

New York Rock.com


I like the title of the album. Positive and spiritual and not unlike the good feeling you get from listening to this guy's stuff.

Songs like "Bite Your Tongue" really reminded me whose voice Al reminds me of. A lot like Van Morrison. Also, the vocals are very clear - just think the opposite of most of Phil Collins' hits. Here's a guy (Al) with a very individual voice who isn't afraid to get right up to the mic. That also gives the CD a nice 60s jazz feel which I can certainly live with. Except that this recording here is clear and bustin'.

Then there are other songs like "Things Aren't Going So Well" which are right out of Clapton's 70s years. Remember "Wonderful Tonight'" (I think that's the name.) Well, this one will remind you of it. Has that sort of smooth voice, nearly apologetic stream flowing through it. The sort of song you write at midnight on a Saturday because you just don't feel right.

And the whole thing starts out with "When I Reach My Limit." One of my favorites. The chord progression is just too pleasing to the ears. 'when I reach my limit I'm gonna go downtown / put on my torn up coat, and walk around / I'm gonna watch the leaves blowing off of the trees / think about Schubert and the Viennese / when I reach my limit I'm gonna go downtown. I appreciate that refreshing start to a this pep-encrusted fun froth.

A welcome talent to any genre. And here's a man who mixes his genres like sun-lit cocktails. Get a drink.

Musicdish.com


Al as a Session Player

Al Basile's cornet is on the money...Al Basile is killer.

The New York Blues & Jazz Society review of Dave Gross's Take the Gamble


Like Robillard, Basile stays true to the blues while finding novel approaches to keep the music vibrant.


Soundstage.com review of Duke Robillard's Guitar Groove-A-Rama


As a jazz fan, the inclusion of such musicians as Al Basile on cornet is especially welcome.

JazzReview.com review of Duke Robillard's Blue Mood


Robillard’s tribute taps perfectly into the old-timey groove on “T-Bone Shuffle,” where his picking is mostly on the rhythm and leaves lots of space for Al Basile to blow a jumping cornet solo.

WorldlyRemains.com review of Duke Robillard's Blue Mood


...cornetist Al Basile is a delight throughout..

ejazznews.com review of Duke Robillard's Blue Mood


...the best original number - the stealthy "This Dream (Still Coming True)" - came from Al Basile, whose cornet leads a horn section.

Boston Globe review of Duke Robillard's Temptation


...the muted trumpet again growls in the background, adding just the right touch of Louis Armstrong-like low-down jive.

Blues Revue review of Eddy Clearwater's Cool Blues Walk


...Robillard makes excellent use of cornetist Al Basile to color the arrangments creatively...

Down Beat review of Duke Robillard's Dangerous Place


...the gorgeous mutes of early Roomful member Al Basile...

Providence Phoenix review of
Duke Robillard's After Hours Swing Session


...special guests including Tom West on organ, and the great Al Basile on cornet.

Blues & Rhythm review of
Duke Robillard's La Palette Bleu (New Blues For Modern Man)



There are only a handful of people who could cowrite (with Al Basile) something as true blue as "You Mean Everything to Me."

Detroit Free Press


Duke Robillard's "Sayin' Don't Make It So," from his new album, Explorer, is a classic blues tune on a classic blues theme: That woman sure ain't no babe in the woods. That sentiment was expressed by Robillard's frequent lyricist, Al Basile, with this gem of restrained raunch: "You say you just moved, and you don't know your way around / But your mailman says you got the busiest box in town ...

CDNOW review of Duke Robillard's Explorer

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