Soul Blue 7

Al Basile

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?