Artist: Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne
Album: Jumpin' and Boppin'
Label: Stony Plain
Release Date: 06/03/2016
Widely decorated boogie-woogie pianist and contemporary songsmith Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne storms out of Vancouver with mostly jumping blues for a dozen originals and one devastating ballad cover. Joining him on guitar is label mate Duke Robillard, also a likeminded fan of those R&B styled blues from the forties and fifties. Russell Jackson, B.B. King’s long-time bassist, anchors the pulsating rhythm section. This is Wayne’s tenth album as a leader and third for the label which is celebrating its 40th anniversary (read our interview with Stony Plain founder Holger Peterson here). Kenny says this in the liners, “This recording has elements of the great jump blues and boogie-woogie era. You might hear some influences from the era of Louis Jordan, Amos Milburn, Ray Charles, Johnnie Johnson and Fats Domino, just to name a few that are all mixed in like a blues stew.”
Wayne is like a modern day version of Fats Domino, with his colorful suits, big smile and piano chops. This cat can pound those keys as evidenced by Living Blues magazine awarding him the 2015 Most Outstanding Musician on keyboards. As the title suggests, this is joyous music that puts a contemporary spin on those classic styles that now go back sixty or seventy years. Aside from the Wayne’s rocking piano, there are notable contributions from Sherman Doucette on harmonica, Dave Babcock on saxes, and the always clean, tasty riffs from Robillard on guitar. The real highlight though is Wayne’s soulful delivery of the Cindy Walker/Eddy Arnold penned chestnut “You Don’t Know Me.” That tune is bookended by some of the most rollicking boogie-woogie piano you’ll hear today. The last three tracks, “I’m Comin’ Home,” “Rock, Rock Little Girl” and “Boogie to Gloryland” keep that great piano style very much alive. Jump aboard and start boppin’.
– Jim Hynes