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Reese Wynans

And Friends - Sweet Release

Review by Gary Hill

You might not recognize Reese Wynans' name, but he's been the keyboardist on so many records during his 50-plus year career. From playing on Captain Beyond's Sufficiently Breathless album to three albums with Carole King to his time with Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble to playing with Joe Bonamassa, this guy has been everywhere, and those are just a few of the highlights. Now, he's released his first solo album, produced by Bonamassa. The album features some killer songs and some interesting guests including Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Bonamassa, Vince Gill, Keb’ Mo’, Warren Haynes and many more. If you like bluesy music performed especially well, but a stellar cast of musicians, you must get this now.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Crossfire
This rises up and fires out into the classic blues rocking sounds. This live rendition has great horns and smoking hot guitar work. It feels very much like the Stevie Ray Vaughn version.
Say What!
Another screaming hot blues rocker, this has some scorching guitar soloing. This tune is a powerhouse. It has some killer organ work, too. The cut is nearly an instrumental. There are no vocals for more than the first half. Then a chorus of voices comes in singing "Soul to soul" multiple times, which eventually earns a "say what?"
That Driving Beat
There is some driving jazz at the start of this. The horns are on fire. The cut really grooves with a bit of funk in the mix. There is another killer organ solo built into this piece.
You're Killing My Love
Blues and jazz meet on this powerful cut. I love the guitar work on this thing, but the whole arrangement just oozes cool.
Sweet Release
Coming in mellower, with acoustic guitar at the heart of it, this has a great retro texture. This builds its way out into a full on soulful jam. There is a real gospel vibe here. The horns and multiple vocal layers lend a lot of passion and power to this.
Shape I'm In
I love the honky-tonk piano on this thing. There is a lot of old school rock and roll in the mix on it. It's high energy and a lot of fun. The piano soloing is tasty, and the guitar solo that follows brings a lot of fire.
Hard To Be
I dig the horns on this thing. The whole boogie-woogie groove on this is classy. It shifts more toward old school rock and roll as it approaches the killer guitar solo.
Riviera Paradise
The opening section of this has a flourish that makes me think of something Deep Purple might have done in the 60s. Some guitar joins from there to take control in metal ways. The song works through some intriguing variants as it continues. Around the one-minute mark we're taken into a jazzy, bluesy kind of jam. It's slow moving and packed with emotion and power. I love the guitar soloing on this cut. The whole track is sort of a fusion-based instrumental. It's packed with power and drama. It's one of my favorites here.
Take The Time
A killer rocking blues groove in display here. This is a timeless sounding cut that grooves so well. The guitar solo section is very tasty, bringing a bit of an Allman Brothers vibe.
So Much Trouble
Old school blues with some killer piano is the concept here. The harmonica lends some extra magic to this thing. It's very much a faithful blues styled number.
I've Got A Right To Be Blue
Old-time back porch blues brings this into being. This feels like calls back to the days of Robert Johnson. There is some killer old-school piano along with slide guitar on this.
Soul Island

Coming in with a cool rhythmic groove, this is a funky number with plenty of jazz in the mix. It's suitably soulful, and the organ brings tasty retro textures. This instrumental is a great jam.

Blackbird
Here we get the classic Beatles tune done as a piano solo, and it works very well.
 
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