RUMFORD, RI – Eight-time Blues Music Award-nominated singer/songwriter/cornetist Al Basile announces a September 20 release date for his latest excursion into Blues and R&B, B’s Hot House, on Sweetspot Records. Basile is joined on B’s Hot House by his former Roomful of Blues boss, guitarist Duke Robillard (who also produced), and members of Duke’s band, along with several other Roomful alums. The album was recorded by Jack Gauthier at Lakewest Studios in West Greenwich, Rhode Island.
“After last year’s combination of spoken narrative and new songs on Me & the Originator, I decided to relax and go back to recording just new songs of mine, as I have on almost all of my previous 15 releases,” Basile says. “I’ve always been privileged to have my friend Duke Robillard as producer and star guitarist, and used his band to back me up, with some added old friends from Roomful days in the horn section, and I went back to that well again. I’ve made nine records in the last nine years with the same rhythm section, and we know each other so well by now that I know how to ask for what I want musically, and we work fast and effectively. It’s always a pleasure to go in and hear my demos come to life, and get that great support for my vocals and horn solos that inspires me and brings out my best.
“The session for B’s Hot House was no different. I had new songs which were inspired by the grooves of Little Junior Parker, Jimmy McCracklin, Slim Harpo, Booker T and the MGs, and many others. I divided the songs between straight blues and the roots forms that have become standard in R&B, and as always I wrote about real life issues, both at home and in the public arena. If you listen carefully you’ll know what I’m talking about!”
The 14 all-original tracks on the new disc masterfully demonstrate Basile’s skill not only as a songwriter, but as an interpreter of the styles within the blues and roots world that manifest themselves in his songwriting, singing and playing.
“I’m especially happy with my cornet playing on this record,” he adds. “As always, I’m inspired by Louis Armstrong, Roy Eldridge, and Miles Davis – the last two of whom featured the Harmon mute I use prominently here – it has a penetrating edge that stands up to the sound of the electric guitar. It isn’t easy to follow a Duke Robillard solo! But I think my work on this record is strong, rhythmic, and inventive in a way that doesn’t sound like anyone else but me, which is the goal of any blues or jazz player.
“I also like the way I’ve learned over the years to write for my voice – to ask it to do the things it does best,” he declares. “When you’re really comfortable with your vocal phrasing, you develop more authority, and your vocals become more believable – which for me is the ultimate goal when I sing.”
Al Basile’s previous album releases have consistently made the top 20 on the Living Blues charts. He’s been nominated seven times for a BMA as Best Horn Player, and his 2016 release, Mid-Century Modern, was nominated as Best Contemporary Blues Album. His songs have been covered by Ruth Brown, Johnny Rawls, and the Knickerbocker All Stars. Guests on his own releases have included the Blind Boys of Alabama, Sista Monica Parker, Sugar Ray Norcia, Jerry Portnoy, and jazz great Scott Hamilton.
Celebrated for his mastery of lyric writing as well as music, Al’s skill with words extends to his other career as a poet: he is published regularly in leading journals, has won prizes, and has two books in print collecting his work from the Seventies until the present day. For the last two years he has taught lyric writing, led panels, and performed at the West Chester Poetry Conference.
Born in Haverhill, Mass., on the north shore of Boston, Al was the first to receive a Master’s degree from Brown University’s writing program. He was the first trumpet player for Roomful of Blues in the mid-Seventies, and he’s enjoyed a long relationship as a co-writer and sideman during Robillard’s solo career since the Eighties, garnering credits as songwriter and trumpet player on a dozen of Duke’s CDs and DVDs. In 1998, he released his first solo CD on his own Sweetspot label. He also taught English, music, and physics in a private Rhode Island high school for 25 years before devoting himself to music and poetry full time in 2005.
“I always like my songs, and the people I work with make sure I always sound my best on record,” he summarizes. “So far I haven’t had any trouble coming up with a new batch of songs every year, and as every veteran knows, good times can come and go, so when you’re on a streak – ride it!”
Hi-res cover: http://www.markpuccimedia.com/Al-Basile-Hi-Res-Cover.jpg
Hi-res photo (credit: Meghan Sepe): http://www.markpuccimedia.com/Photo-2-Hi-Res.jpg