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The Jeff Golub Band: The Three Kings

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Guitarist Jeff Golub has, throughout his career, split his time between cutting instrumental smooth jazz that leans toward contemporary R&B and turning up the volume as a blues-rocker and longtime Rod Stewart and Billy Squier sideman. The Three Kings falls squarely into the latter camp, its title a reference to B.B., Albert and Freddie King, the unrelated though often lumped-together Kings of the Blues. For his tribute, Golub keeps things lean and alternately clean and mean. Bassist Andy Hess and drummer Josh Dion provide a firm foundation for Golub’s muscular, well-framed soloing, and New Orleans pianist Henry Butler bestows the jams with melodic coloring and dynamic soul.

The non-singing Golub may take top billing, but The Three Kings is a collaborative effort: Butler’s throaty vocals on five tracks, among them the B.B.-associated opener “Let the Good Times Roll,” Albert’s signature “Born Under a Bad Sign” and particularly the Billy Myles-written “Have You Ever Loved a Woman?” (popularized by Freddie), bring a gutsiness to the set, and Dion, though thinner vocally than Butler, handles three tracks-including the B.B. staple “Everyday I Have the Blues”-authoritatively. Chris Palmaro on B3 organ and a four-man horn team including Euge Groove on tenor sax fill out the arrangements.

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