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Photos and Text by Dorothy L. HILL


The last time Eddie Turner played Biscuits & Blues in San Francisco, he was backing up Otis Taylor and it was obvious that he was a star in the making at that time.  He is now on his own and making a splash transforming the homogeneous elements of blues, jazz, gospel and psychedelic rock into a unique style. 
Born in Cuba and raised in Chicago, he absorbed those sounds and has amalgamated them with his experience as a sideman in bands of various genres.  He was dubbed “Devil Boy” partly in reference to his ethereal guitar tones which he refines with the use of bits of delay and effects pedals.  Don’t put a label on Turner, his sense of the blues is loud and clear and he was nominated in 2006 for a Blues Music Award for Best New Artist Debut for his 2005 CD “Rise.”  “The Turner Diaries” which has been getting even more critical acclaim quickly followed.

Turner’s band mates at this show were Ed Michaels on drums, Andy Nevala on keyboard and Jimmy Trujillo on bass. 
They provided cohesion with a freedom of interpretation.

Starting off slow and easy, Turner’s vocals were soft and soothing on “Rock Me Baby” and he soon amped it up with a colorful guitar solo.  His rap style version of Johnny “Guitar” Watson’s “Gangster of Love” was accompanied by a hard-hitting pattern laid down by the drummer.  On “Ask Myself Why,” Turner’s vocals were introspectively soulful with a guitar solo full of texture and passion.  “The River” best demonstrated Turner’s skill as one of the most explosive guitar stylists in contemporary electric blues - he sensitively built complex walls of sound that trembled with force and vitality.  His vocal rendition of “I’m A Man, I’m A Man” was full of ominous resolution punctuated by a vibrant slide exercise on guitar.  On this lengthy tune, an experimental keyboard solo enhanced the undulating melody with the bassist contributing a jazzy solo.  On the title tune “Rise” from his CD, Turner’s vocals opened with a repetitive moaning and displayed a unique gospel flavor.  When he started off on “I Smell Smoke,” Turner graphically admitted to messing it up and handed it over to the band while contributing a scorching guitar solo.

The eclectic play list of this two-set show also included covers of Robben Ford, Jeff Beck and Fleetwood Mac tunes.

Turner’s exhilarating guitar renderings this evening were full of dynamic subtleties and his body language filled with kinetic energy.  When riding on the edge of hard rock, Turner’s inspired rhythmic intensity was phenomenal. Turner has been described as “otherworldly, scorching, polyrhythmic and chilling” and he is all that but he possesses a dimension that transcends those superlatives.  Turner crossed musical boundaries with distinction and proved to be a man of all seasons while retaining a blues sensibility - he is definitively indefinable!

----- Dorothy L. Hill
jazzpix@pacbell.net

From: http://www.bluesart.at

 


 

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