Blues Dragon, the project of bassist Mark Telesca, takes a spin through pre-WWII blues throwing in touches of contemporary R&B, AOR, and storytelling. Recorded this past July, Alive at the Bamboo Room gives fans of the blues, the Allman Brothers, and Jethro Tull all of that and more. The album kicks off with a version of the Son House classic "Death Letter," a song that allegedly influenced even the great Robert Johnson. After that, Blues Dragon takes the listener on a trip through the cotton fields of the rural South, pausing briefly in post-war Chicago for a Willie Dixon cut, the raunchy "Back Door Man," made famous by Howlin' Wolf and the Doors. "John the Revelator," Blind Willie Johnson's classic take on rural gospel-turned-blues, gets a contemporary update with jazzy saxophone, wah-wah-meets-heavy-distortion guitar shredding, and liberal doses of hand drums sprinkled throughout. John Boyle showcases some outstanding jazz flute chops on the Son House composition "Preachin' the Blues." While blues purists might attempt to find fault with the blending of styles (as well as the modernizing of classic songs), Blues Dragon lends an element of technical superiority to the mission that should quiet such criticisms. 1906, 2006 it's all good. Check out www.bluesdragon.com.
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