Arizona Club 2015
Guitar elite gathering for a guest spot on Vegas’ axeman’s second outing.
On the outside, Jimmy McIntosh may seem a late-starter who debuted with 2006’s “Orleans To London” when he was about 48 years young, but its stylistic scope and fine detail suggested a fruitful gestation. And there was the inside, augmented by the presence of Ronnie Wood and Jeff Beck, the former returning on that album’s unhurried sequel, whose title hints at openness rather than the more-than-cameo appearance of upper-class players.
The Rolling Stone might lay his slide-caressed licks all over those of the host on “Slow Blues” and “Fast Blues” which bookend “And…” to set a traditional mood in its heart, yet McIntosh’s interplay with Mike Stern on “PM Blues” brings forth a jangly jazzy delicacy spilling over into the cobweb-light take on “Sophisticated Lady” by Duke Ellington, Jimmy’s family friend who, many years ago, predicted he’d be a master musician. Much of the gumbo offered here is transparently sparse, what with McIntosh grinding the rock for John Scofield’s wide swath through “Letsco,” although when Ivan Neville’s organ oils the twang of “The Logue” a tasty, if greasy, groove rolls out the jive.
It lurks also in the bouncy reading of Robert Johnson’s “32-20 Blues” – devoid of the original’s country bent – while more romantic mood shoots through Woody’s “I Gotta See” where Ronnie joins in the sax-soiled flow lending a lyricism to Keith Richard’s “Demon.” But there’s as elegant a threat in the vibrant walk of “Ju Ju” and “Lavona’s Boogie” that, high on Neville’s piano, welcomes Scofield back in a playful mode to twine his lines with McIntosh’s, just like Stern does on “Back2Cali” in which fusion is delivered with a rocking swagger, albeit the stellar experts don’t overshadow Jimmy, their equal on any given chord, even though less innovative. Otherwise, his name deserves to be up there, at the top.