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Duke Robillard: A Special Evening With Duke Robillard and Friends

Guitarist Duke Robillard can deliver supple, disciplined riffs for swing arrangements, extensive and intricate solos for exacting jazz pieces or stinging accompaniment for blues and R&B shouters. A Special Evening links all these aspects of his musical personality. It presents a joint music/photography event that matched Robillard with a select group of longtime associates. The relaxed yet somewhat competitive atmosphere resulted in stirring renditions of “Cow Cow Boogie,” “Jivin’ in Rhythm,” “Deed I Do” and “Blue Harlem” among others.

Though not specifically a band session, Robillard’s familiarity with the participants is reflected in the ease with which the group handles the 13-song program. Besides Robillard’s crisp lines and energetic contributions, the eight-piece ensemble includes harmonica ace Jerry Portnoy and a red-hot frontline of cornetist Al Basile, clarinetist/alto saxophonist Billy Novick and tenor/baritone saxophonist Doug James. Other than some forgettable vocals, this DVD spotlights Robillard at his best.

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