Monday, 23 January 2012

Etta James & Saxophonists

Etta James, one of the greatest blues singers around passed away recently. You can check out her obituary at the Guardian. What I wanted to bring to light is the celebration of her soulful musical career. I as a saxophonist first learned about Etta James because of the unique bands she would hire. One of my big inspirations is Eddie Harris (famous for written Freddom Jazz Dance) and when I was going through a phase of soaking up every possible record I could find with Eddie on it, I stumbled across an Etta James record Time After Time. There I heard Eddie Harris as a sideman, and the amazing thing is that he sounded simply at his best... Etta James clearly brought out the best in him. 
Years later I started to get very interested in the New Orleans tenor players and quickly learned of Lee Allen, who recorded with Little Richard, Fats Domino and Dr. John among others. As he was mostly a sideman it was tough to research Lee as well. Well long and behold he popped up on an Etta James recording as well. And as with Eddie, Etta James brought out the best in Lee Allen, this has become one of my favorite solos. 
When strong soulful musicians see the greatness in musicians that are not necessarily recognized by the mass media and choose them on their artistic merit rather than popularity, it deserves recognition. 
Here is Etta James with Lee Allen:

No comments:

Post a Comment