Blues From All Points

Vince Salerno and Gerald McClendon

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Blues From All Points

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Hot on the heels of their acclaimed 2019 Pravda CD Grabbing the Blues by the Horns, veteran Chicago saxophonist/harpist Vince Salerno and vocalist Gerald McClendon return with a tough encore disc expanding even more daringly on their eclecticism than on its predecessor. Long a fixture on the Windy City blues scene, Vince unleashes his horn on an extraordinarily wide-ranging musical menu encompassing swinging blues (T-Bone Walker’s “Street Walking Woman”), zydeco pioneer Clifton Chenier’s “Ay-Tete Fee,” and John Coltrane’s “Bessie’s Blues,” where he switches to baritone sax from his customary tenor. A double helping of Jr. Walker (“Cleo’s Mood” and “Hip City”) allows Vince plenty of room to wail in his upper register, and he whips out his harmonica for the blistering traditional Chicago blues “Highway 49,” slathered in slashing slide guitar by Thomas Klein. Gerald sings everything with soul-dripping, impassioned power, including the hard-rocking originals “Antidote To Love” and “Do Drop In.” The splendidly solid rhythm section is headed by highly versatile keyboardist Thomas Linsk. Nearly half of the album is fresh material, including the rollicking instrumental “Harpcordia.” The driving “Blues And Trouble” finds McClendon shaking the rafters vocally, Klein peeling off two choruses of laser-beam guitar, and Vince magically trading fours with himself on bari and harp. Blues From All Points is the best kind of pandemic salve imaginable, making the body move and healing the soul simultaneously. Time to get in the groove! — BILL DAHL

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