Artist: Dr. John
Album: The Musical Mojo Of Dr. John
Label: Concord Music Group
Release Date: 10/14/2016
Mac Rebennack is the consummate showman in many respects, but perhaps one of his strongest selling points are the friends he’s made who have endured the long and hazy journey with him. In The Musical Mojo of Dr. John: A Celebration of Mac & His Music, the Doctor finds himself in a splendidly candid mood, alongside some of his most swampy and prolifically adjusted comrades. If judged by the company he keeps, Dr. John continues to prove he is eclectically poised and eternally relevant as ever.
A retrospect of Dr. John’s influences and contemporaries, Musical Mojo’s obvious standout is the rapturous opening of “Right Place Wrong Time” replete with Springsteen’s equally formidable presence. Though, Dr. John’s duet with Allen Toussaint on “Life” creates one of the best summations of any New-Orleans based pianists. Rather than relying on artists such as Mavis Staples and John Fogerty to come out of the woodwork for the benefit of Dr. John, there’s an otherwise implied importance of his presence across half a century as displayed by the fervent outpouring of guests.
Dr. John’s contributions to the shift of music culture is an often overlooked and understated thread throughout his career. His virtuosity shines when paired with some of the most beloved artists across the years, but hearing The Night Tripper himself speak to the ivories on “Such A Night” is wholly unreal. Dr. John may not be the absolute greatest pianist of time, but he is easily the most natural inhabit of the 88 keys we have today.
– Jake Tully