After three acclaimed and popular Bluemoon/Atlantic albums with his band, Avenue Blue, guitarist Jeff Golub has decided to fly solo. "OUT OF THE BLUE" finds Golub stepping out front with an all-new collection of progressive blues-inflected instrumentals, fit to burst with funky Latin-tinged rhythms, soulful melodies and dramatic arrangements. Tracks such as the smokin' "Lucky Strike" and the sleek and sultry single, "The Velvet Touch," display Golub's ever-growing musical maturity and offer ample proof that he is one of today's most inventive and graceful guitarists.
"I wanted to take a lot more chances," says Golub, "so I decided to do it under my name to show that this is a different approach to the music. I didn't want to have any categorical limitations to where the music went."
Golub's stinging, swinging guitarwork is complemented by a stellar lineup of musicians that includes bass/Chapman Stick master Tony Levin (John Lennon, Peter Gabriel, King Crimson), drummer Steve Ferrone (Tom Petty, Average White Band, Eric Clapton), Hammond B3 organist Ricky Peterson (David Sanborn, Robben Ford), and percussionist Richie Flores (Gato Barbieri, Eddie Palmieri, Hilton Ruiz). "OUT OF THE BLUE" also sees guest appearances from the saxman Kirk Whalum (on "Lucky Strike"), guitarist Marc Antoine (contributing nylon string guitar to "Paradise Lost"), and Golub's longtime friend and collaborator Rick Braun, who lets fly with some sizzling solo trumpet work on the cover of Dizzy Gillespie's classic "Manteca."
"I put together my favorite band," Golub beams. "They're just the ideal bunch of players for this music, and this is definitely player's music."
Golub co-produced "OUT OF THE BLUE" with keyboardist/producer Philippe Saisse (David Sanborn, Al Jarreau, Luther Vandross), who also co-wrote a number of the album's tracks. Golub first connected with Saisse on a 1998 package tour with Whalum, where the keyboardist immediately sensed that Golub had yet to incorporate a crucial portion of his sound into his recorded output.
"When I play live, my rock and blues roots emerge," Golub says. "It's a more dynamic approach to the guitar. Philippe saw this other side to my music that hadn't made it to my records, and he wanted to work with me on trying to bring that out."
"Manteca," like the reggae-tinted "Latitude 19," finds Golub adding a Caribbean-spiced flavor to his already diverse instrumental pallette. The rhythmic sound reflects the impact such artists as Carlos Santana have had on the guitarist's music.
"Style is formed out of influence and inspiration," Golub explains, "and I wanted to bring in some of my other influences. That's one of the reasons I wanted that Latin sound, with lots of percussion and groove."
"OUT OF THE BLUE" was recorded largely at New York City's Avitar Studios. In order to best capture the energetic sound he wanted, Golub cut the majority of the album's tracks live in the studio with just the core rhythm section of Levin, Ferrone, and Saisse.
"You can feel how we were communicating with each other," the guitatist says. "There was this incredible interplay between the musicians, which is the true essence of what jazz is supposed to be. Now, this is by no means traditional jazz, but I did want to keep that spirit."
"OUT OF THE BLUE" undoubtedly captures Golub and his compatriots' joy in making instrumental music with no visible boundaries. For Jeff Golub, the goal is always to move forward, to take his special brand of guitar music to the next unexplored level.
"It's really important as an artist to keep evolving," Golub says. "Too many artists play it safe, especially after they've had some success. I never want to recreate what I've already done. I always want to take my music to a new place, with no limits as to where it can go."
* * * * * The New York City-based Golub's kinetic blend of blues, soul, rock, and jazz has made him one of contemporary jazz/blues' hottest artists. Born in Akron, Ohio, Golub attended Boston's prestigious Berklee School of Music, where he honed his considerable skill as a guitarist. In 1980, shortly after his arrival in the Big Apple, Golub was invited to join Billy Squier's band, a stint which saw the guitarist performing on several albums and three world tours. He soon became a highly-valued session player and sideman, working with artists such as Peter Wolf, John Waite, Tina Turner, Vanessa Williams, Ashford & Simpson, and Rod Stewart, with whom Golub worked for eight years. In addition to his session work, Golub found time in 1988 to cut his debut solo album, "UNSPOKEN WORDS," which was hailed by Guitar World as "smooth, versatile... full of taste and soul."
Golub left Stewart's band in 1994 to pursue his other musical interests, specifically the formation of his own contemporary jazz group, which he dubbed Avenue Blue. Their self-titled Bluemoon debut was an immediate success, both critically ("An elegant excursion into atmospheric, R&B-touched jazz," raved Jazz Times) and commercially, reaching the #2 spot on both R&R and The Gavin Report's contemporary jazz charts.
In 1995, Golub was hired by pianist Bob James for a week's engagement at New York's Blue Note, a gig which resulted in his being asked to tour and perform with James and saxman Kirk Whalum on their Grammy-nominated "JOINED AT THE HIP." The following year saw the release of the sophomore Avenue Blue album, "NAKED CITY," which featured appearances from James, vocalist Phoebe Snow, and a host of New York's finest musicians. In addition to ten Golub-penned originals, the album included surprising covers of such pop staples as "Spooky" and "Baby I'm Yours."
1997 saw the third Avenue Blue release -- "NIGHTLIFE" -- hit #1 on R&R's NAC/Smooth Jazz Albums chart, while the album's title track also topped the R&R NAC/Smooth Jazz tracks chart. Golub has also frequently collaborated with his Stewart bandmate, trumpeter Rick Braun. The two have co-produced all three Avenue Blue collections (which, of course, feature Braun's trademark hornwork), while Golub contributed licks and leads to Braun's 1995 "BEAT STREET," 1997's "BODY AND SOUL," and 1998's "FULL STRIDE" (all on Bluemoon).
(Bio courtesy Mesa/Bluemoon.)
--- from the official Jeff Golub website