Guitarist & Vocalist Jordan Officer is Under 'Blue Skies' on Self-Released CD [REVIEW]

By Mike Greenblatt on Jan 14, 2016 12:11 PM EST
Jordan Officer Guitarist/vocalist Jordan Officer (Photo : Genevieve Bellemare)

What a delightful and captivating surprise the Blue Skies of Jordan Officer is for the ears! This self-released beauty is naked in its bare accompaniment. It's the sound of one man and one guitar on songs he and I both grew up with. Sure, there's the subtle sprinkle of a bass/drums rhythm section and the added bonus of Tex-Mex legend Augie Meyers on keyboards on one of the two originals, but the accent here is on his bluesy jazzy guitar accompanying himself while he sings these songs so pure.

And what songs they are: from the Tom Waits-penned title tune (not to be confused with the Irving Berlin song of the same name) to Fats Domino ("It's You I Love"), Phil Spector ("And Then She Kissed Me"), Bob Dylan ("When The Deal Goes Down"), Big Joe Turner ("Chains Of Love"), Louis Armstrong ("That's For Me") and Arthur Alexander ("Shot Of Rhythm'n'Blues"). He sings 'em sweet and in service to the song, which is the way it's supposed to be. Plus, he adds tasty little runs on his guitar throughout that accentuate his meanings like a Greek Chorus.

The highlight has to be the 1928 classic "How Long Blues" by Leroy Carr [1905-1935], an extremely influential long-ago and far-away piano blues man from Indiana who influenced Nat King Cole, Ray Charles and Count Basie but who died at 30 from acute alcohol poisoning. So many artists-including Lou Rawls, Johnnie Ray, Lonnie Donegan, Pigmeat Markham, Hot Tuna, Grateful Dead, Eric Clapton and Pinetop Perkins-have covered it but there's just something about Officer's simplistic homespun version that cuts deep into the original personality of the song.

Blue Skies is a worthy follow-up to I'm Free, which the Montreal native wrote and recorded in New York City, capturing the zeitgeist of the city that never sleeps. This new one, though, recorded in Los Angeles, reflects that town's laid-back essence. I suggest he travel to New Orleans next.

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TagsJordan Officer, REVIEW, Augie Meyers, Tom Waits

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