Fifty Shades of Blue

Anthony Geraci might be a new name for West Coast audiences, but 40 years ago the Connecticut-born pianist began gracing the stage, backing up dozens of blues men and women—e.g., Muddy, Buddy, B.B., Big Mama Thornton—and recording as an original member of Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters and Sugar Ray and the Bluetones, to name just two groups. He also has a slew of CDs out on a variety of labels. He's joined on his latest, Fifty Shades of Blue, by a rotating crew that includes harpist/vocalist Sugar Ray Norcia on six songs, including the lively title track and the ballad “Your Turn to Cry”; Darrell Nulisch on three songs (my favorite is the very soulful “Cry a Million Tears”—another weeper!—with a great solo by Geraci); and guitarist Monster Mike Welch, whose playing enhances every number and who really shines on the two instrumentals, especially the lively “In the Quicksand, Again.” “Blues for David Maxwell,” which closes the disc, is Geraci's tribute to the late blues pianist.