Monday, July 12, 2010

Danny Gatton: In Concert 9/9/94 (1997)

(As published in Real Groove ... )

Danny Gatton
In Concert 9/9/94
(Big Mo)

Most musicians who get hyped as "best-kept secrets" deserve to remain under wraps. The late Danny Gatton, however, deserved more exposure. By the time he turned in this sixty-five-minute performance at the Birchmere club in Alexandria, VA, he'd already spent two or three decades as a D.C.-area guitar hero, enjoyed a short-lived major-label career as the "best unknown guitar player in the world," and returned to obscurity as one born to it. Judging from the barely audible 'tween-tracks applause, the crowd in front of which In Concert 9/9/94 was recorded couldn't have exceeded one hundred. Yet Gatton and his backup duo (the upright bassist John Previti and the drummer Timm Biery) really bear down and stretch out, treating an impressively diverse program of jazz (Sonny Rollins' "Sunnymoon for Two," Duke Ellington's "Caravan," Vince Guaraldi's "Linus and Lucy"), demijazz (Chuck Mangione's "Land of Make Believe"), rock-and-roll ("Apache," a "Surf Medley" of "Walk Don't Run" and "Wipeout"), folk-boogie ("Orange Blossom Medley") and originals ("88 Elmira," "Blues Newburg") with an improvisational intensity and lightness of touch not usually associated with journeymen. Enjoyable under most circumstances, and essential for those times when one's drinking buddies get misty over Jimi and Stevie Ray.

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