Once in a while comes a record that underscores the importance of the blues in jazz music. As the title suggests Bob Dogan’s “My Blues Roots” is just such a disc.
Dogan does not sing on this one as he did on some of his previous recordings. The 10 tracks are instrumental piano trio pieces inspired by bluesy themes. The sound of the trio is a bit reminiscent of Oscar Peterson’s in both the piano’s dominance in the group and the style of the leader’s playing although Dogan is more laid back than Peterson and not as extroverted, yet his delivery is no less exuberant. The bassist Dan Delorenzo, who in quiet harmony with drummer Joe Adamik both support Dogan’s piano and form the rhythmic heart beat of the music, has a sound vaguely influenced but not derivative of Ray Brown’s hence enhancing the similarity between this group and that of Peterson’s. Delorenzo takes meandering and meditative solos on 5 of the tunes, most notably on the original “Nitsua” and Adamik takes a single propulsive one on the Sonny Rollins penned “Airegin”.
Dogan has the lion share of soloing and he stretches out in complex, intricate yet earthy improvisational flights that infuse all the pieces with his very personal and unique touch and end gracefully where they began; within the core theme of the tune.
The CD is a mixture of 5 compositions by Dogan and 5 infrequently played standards. The original pieces are structurally similar to the covers and this helps maintain a thematic unity yet each song preserves its own unique character therefore preventing the music from becoming monotonous and maintaining interest throughout. The highlights of this uniformly stimulating CD are Dogan’s blues drenched “Scrogs” and Donald Byrd’s lesser-known “Omicron”.
This is a very personal and rewarding work by a master musician and his trio. It is not necessarily a totally innovative groundbreaker but remains enjoyable and interesting through several spins.
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