JUBILEE (Northern Blues) Harry Manx & Kevin Breit
A divine concoction. Two fantastic stringmen making magic.
At a Canadian festival called Summerfolk, a workshop jam between Manx and Breit (devised by Artistic Director Don Bird) was captured on tape and played for Canadian force of nature Michael Wrycraft. Michael is known to many Puremusic readers as the foremost Canadian CD designer. But he's also a consummate music person--a radio personality, an organizer, a catalytic converter on the vibrant Canadian music scene. (He missed the jam live because he was stuck in the next tent giving a different workshop while two of his favorites were making a little history, so we're all lucky that somebody ran some tape.) A little background on the players is in order.
Harry Manx is a one of a kind. He is, on the one hand, a celebrated blues artist. On the other, he spent years studying under and touring with Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, creator and master of the Mohan Veena. Mr. Bhatt came to greater international reknown after his landmark album with Ry Cooder, Meeting By The River (Water Lily Acoustics). Harry's integration of these two divergent musical lives alone stands him apart. But along with Mohan Veena, acoustic slide and harmonica, he contributes National Steel, banjo, and sings on Jubilee.
Kevin Breit is a splendid foil for Manx (and vice versa), since he covers different ground. He's a great electric guitarist, first of all, and has recorded with many high profile artists, including Cassandra Wilson, Holly Cole, k.d. laing, Janis Ian, and a long list of others. On Jubilee, however, he gets to pull all kinds of tools out of the bag. Breit contributes electric and slide guitar, cavaquinho, mandocello, banjolin, Resonator Guitar, mandola, mandolin, electric vibro bass, loops, organ, bass pedals, and baritone 5 string banjo. Some people are just lazy.
But the tunes are what makes the virtuosity of the players fun. Four great covers, first: "Takin It To The Streets", "Voodoo Child", "Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues" and Sleepy John Estes' "Diving Duck Blues." Three of the originals are sung, and the other seven are very unique and provocative instrumentals. Each man brought a few to the table, and "Unmoved by Love" was cowritten.
As if all that weren't enough, the absolutely deluxe package with see through vellum sheets and loads of good photos and graphics designed by the man called Wrycraft is a trip--a must see, must have. Jubilee is a fab release in every respect and we predict that once you hear it on the Listen page, you will buy it, here. Kudos to Northern Blues Music, we sure like what they're up to. FG