Ronnie Earl: Eye to Eye

Muddy Waters veterans Willie “Pinetop” Perkins, bassist Calvin “Fuzz” Jones and drummer Willie “Big Eyes” Smith join with blues guitar wiz Ronnie Earl for a soulful summit meeting on Eye To Eye (AudioQuest 1043; 68:24). Earl’s playing is typically tasteful and pungent, though the pinched vocals of octogenarian Pinetop are hardly strong or distinctive enough to carry the session. Some nice, relaxed moments here with the occasional spirited boogie woogie (Pinetop’s specialty since the late ’40s). And plenty of room for Earl to burn in elegantly understated fashion.