"...The sound is in the pocket,tight and right." - Michael Dregni Vintage Guitar Magazine
“…For the serious jazz fan, Beaudoin is a guitar player you need to hear.” – Jazz Music Archives
"... Seminal jazz sounds with out sounding the least bit dated." - Mike Joyce, The Washington Post Award winning jazz guitarist Gerry Beaudoin has had a career that has brought him from the jazz clubs of Boston and New York to concert stages across the USA and Canada. During this trip Gerry was awarded a 1992 National Association Of Independent Record Distributors award for best jazz recording, two Cadance Jazz Magazine Editor's Choice Awards and placement on the Grammy Awards Ballot three times in his career. Gerry is profiled with a full length entry in jazz critic Scott Yanow's new book, The Great Jazz Guitarist's: The Ultimate Guide. His performance on the New Guitar Summit CD Live at the Stoneham Theater is hailed as a , " Significant on screen appearance by jazz guitarists" and "great interest to fans of jazz guitarists." Gerry is the founder of the New Guitar Summit featuring Gerry alongside guitarist extraordinaire Howard Alden and legendary guitarist J.Geils of the J.Geils Band. He has performed with a host of jazz and blues luminaries including John and Bucky Pizzarelli, Karrin Allyson, Howard Alden,Harry Allen,Eddie Cleanhead Vinson, Duke Robillard, the Roomful of Blues horn section and Jay McShann, On this recording Gerry teams up with long time collaborator and friend Jesse Williams on acoustic bass. Jesse Williams prides himself on his musical depth and breadth! He has performed and recorded internationally performing on two Grammy Nominated Albums and six W.C. Handy nominated albums. He has performed with Bucky Pizzarelli, Howard Alden, Duke Robillard, Jay McShann, Al Kooper, Jay Geils, John Hammond, Karin Allyson, Harry Allen, Ruth Brown, Maria Muldaur, Johnnie Johnson, Ronnie Earl, Henry Butler, Susan Tedeschi and Charles Neville. Both musicians are steeped in the jazz and blues tradition and their musical empathy and years spent playing together are evident through out this fine recording. This recording was made "live in the studio" with no overdubs or digital magic". To quote Gerry," this is just two guys with two mikes playing music from the heart that reflects their respect and admiration for each other and the music." From the swinging title track " Blues In The Corner Pocket " to the moody, introspective ballad, " I Often Thought You'd Never Leave Me" this CD is a statement of musicianship and friendship.
Below are the liner notes, written by stellar jazz guitarist, Howard Alden.
Gerry Beaudoin And Jesse Williams “Blues In The Corner Pocket” -Howard Alden
The guitar has always been a key component in the development of jazz, being flexible enough to take on many different roles in the music. However, In the early years it was mainly used as an accompanying instrument, especially in live performances. The acoustic guitar as a solo instrument was more at home in a quiet living room.
Much of the beauty and subtle dynamics of the guitar were buried in the ensembles they enhanced with rhythmic and harmonic support, although the heartbeat of the swing era was the pulse of the acoustic rhythm guitar. The great George Van Eps told me some years ago that when he was playing his acoustic guitar in jazz bands in speakeasies in the late twenties/early thirties, he’d played rhythm in the ensembles, then when it was time for his solo, he’d pick up a trumpet and play it so he could be heard. He also told me that he was trying out an early version of the electric guitar, the Epiphone “Electar”, in 1935, but when he plugged it into the wrong outlet once and blew out the power in the hotel where they were playing, the bandleader(Benny Goodman) forbid him to bring it any more. Who knew the mild-mannered George Van Eps was such a trouble-maker!
The amplified guitar really came in to its own in jazz a few years later, in the hands of brilliant artists like Charlie Christian, T-Bone Walker, George Barnes and the innovative Les Paul, who all found ways to use the hybrid electromagnetic pickup/tube amplifier/guitar sound to say what they wanted to say. Shortly after there was an explosion of individual stylists on the electric guitar including Barney Kessel, Jimmy Raney, Johnny Smith, Wes Montgomery, Django Reinhart in the second half of his career...the list goes on and on. Guitarists could finally express themselves freely alongside other naturally louder instruments.
Gerry Beaudoin in no stranger to the electric jazz and blues tradition, having cut his teeth playing with no less than the legendary Jay McShann ,jazz saxophonist and blues shouter Eddie”Cleanhead” Vinson ,members of America’s seminal jump band, Roomful Of Blues, among others as well as jazz saxophonists Harry Allen,Fred Lipsius and jazz guitar legend Bucky Pizzarelli.. He founded the powerhouse group New Guitar Summit along with rock/blues icon Jay Geils and blues/swing guitar master Duke Robillard(and more recently, yours truly). Bassist Jesse Williams is a good foil for Gerry having also spent his career straddling the jazz and blues worlds, backing the likes of Jay Mcshann, Duke Robillard and singer Ruth Brown as well as jazz vocalist Karrin Allyson and saxophonist Harry Allen. . Gerry and Jesse both show in their playing that both idioms are not mutually exclusive but twin sisters in the American musical lexicon.
But this new recording presents a different side of Gerry Beaudoin. Here, he takes the opportunity to re-examine some evergreens of the jazz repertoire with the sparse freshness afforded by the acoustic arch-top guitar, accompanied solely by the rock-solid and impeccable beat of Jesse Williams on acoustic bass. On this recording he uses two different guitars that are the epitome of the classic four-to-the-bar rhythm style, an eighteen-inch Gibson Super 400, and the guitar that still sets the standard for jazz guitar in so many diverse styles, the seventeen inch Gibson L-5, this one a non-cutaway model made in 1939. In this quiet setting we’re really able to hear the range and expressiveness that these instruments are capable of in the right hands, and savor the complimentary vibrations set into motion by Gerry and Jesse.
Almost all the tunes are familiar to both the players and listeners, which gives the players comfort and freedom to explore and create, and gives the listeners a familiar frame of reference within which they can follow Gerry and Jess’s musical conversations(jazz modernist/pianist/guru Lennie Tristano knew and preached the value and freedom of continuing to re-examine and create upon familiar standards). So here we hear George Gershwin’s classic lullaby from Porgy and Bess, “Summertime”, introducing the string duo in a unabashedly happy walking version, including some nice guitar/bass dialogue after Gerry and Jesse’s individual solos. Vernon Duke and Ira Gershwin’s “I Can’t Get Started”, after being debuted by Bob Hope in 1936, was brought to the attention of the jazz world by trumpet star Bunny Berigan who adopted it as his theme song in 1937. Everybody from Dizzy Gillespie to Frank Sinatra has recorded versions it; Gerry finesses the melody with reverent grace.
There are two Beaudoin originals on this CD. First, a swinging blues by Gerry “Blues In The Corner Pocket”, giving us another good helping of conversational guitar/bass interplay before they restate the theme and take it home. Then Jesse WIlliams states the melody of “I Often Thought You’d Never Leave Me”, a laid back, moody collaboration between Gerry and his son Gerard, himself a talented vibraphonist. After Gerry and Jesse have their say, Jesse reprises the melody, but Gerry comes back with the last word on the topic, venting his feelings through his blues roots. An airy and sun-drenched trip to Sonny Rollin’s “St. Thomas” is followed by an acoustic stroll through the “Autumn Leaves”. Gerry gets his guitar in a reflective mood with some arpeggiated chords, then lovingly caresses Johnny Green’s “Body and Soul”, taking his time and relishing the tones coming from the 70 plus year old guitar. The CD closes happily with some exuberant strumming and shouting on the closer, “Just Friends”- Howard Alden New York City 2012