Bob Dogan – My Blues Roots
Bob Dogan – Piano
Dan DeLorenzo – Bass
Joe Adamik – Drums
Since the first moment I heard Bob Dogan on Salishan, well over a decade ago, I can honestly say I’ve been a fan––heard his arrangements, dug his records, and when I was in the unenviable position of following his quintet with Ryan Schultz at Andy’s in 2007, I made sure to get there early every week so that I could listen to him. Rings was an outstanding disc. Let’s get the obvious out of the way: My Blues Roots is not just a return to form; it’s a stunningly cool disc that holds up to lots (and lots and lots) of listens. While it’s not truly a disc of blues tunes, in the sense of a collection of twelve-bar songs, or a disc of old blues nuggets from Bob’s early days, it is an earthy disc that drips with soul. Evenly split between Dogan’s originals and some downright inspired picks of others’ material, this is a disc that flows well and has a ton of character. I don’t know if Les McCann, Ray Bryant, Bobby Timmons or any other “soul” pianists of the fifties and sixties were big influences on Dogan’s overall approach to the piano, but on this album in particular, it certainly seems that way.
Things start nicely enough with a pair of Dogan originals, “Scroggs” and “Adobe.” Both are loping, mid tempo songs. While “Scroggs” is just exactly the blues that you’d expect to hear on an album called My Blues Roots, “Adobe,” with it’s fifty-two-bar form, slick changes and mellow feel, is just about anything but a standard issue blues. What follows is the one-two punch that accounts for the best thirteen minutes on the disc, when this trio tackles “Airegin.” These three guys can play well, and play very well together, and they leave no prisoners, with a terrific Dogan solo and a ripping turn by drummer Joe Adamik. The tempo might simmer a little on “Brother Can You Spare A Dime,” but the level of intensity and brilliance is just as high. Dogan takes his time setting up the vamp, playing the tune and running through an excellent solo. The results are magnificent.
Another highlight of this fantastic disc is Donald Byrd’s “Omicron.” If there’s one thread that seems to run through most of Dogan’s best performances, it’s that the songs are the mid- to up-tempo tunes, where he leaves plenty of space to let really cool ideas breathe a little bit before starting in on the next one. The result here is an excellent solo by Dogan, followed with another from Adamik.
If you’re already a Bob Dogan fan, this disc will confirm everything you’ve ever thought about his playing. If you’ve never heard him before, this disc will make you a fan pretty quickly. My Blues Roots is always interesting and frequently exciting.
Paul Abella is the music director at 90.9 FM WDCB Public Radio. He may be contacted at wdcb.org.
By: Paul Abella
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