New Guitar Summit
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Because Jay Geils is best known as leader of the J. Geils Band, a rock group that had big-selling records in the 1970s and early '80s, listeners are often surprised to find out that Geils has a great love for Charlie Christian-style swing-to-bop guitar. The J. Geils Band were originally known as the J. Geils Blues Band before they had rock hits, and Geils has proven in recent years to be a fine interpreter of the 1940s swing style. Duke Robillard, founder of Roomful of Blues, has long been a lover of that music, while Gerry Beaudoin was a highly rated jazz guitarist from New England before he met Geils. Since 1997 the three guitarists have occasionally come together as New Guitar Summit. On Shivers they are joined by a fourth guitarist (Randy Bachman) on two Mose Allison songs. Bachman takes vocals on "Your Mind Is on Vacation" and "Everybody's Crying Mercy"; otherwise this CD is strictly instrumental. While five of the songs are originals by bandmembers, most of those tunes would have comfortably fit into the repertoire of the Benny Goodman Sextet that featured Christian. Each of the guitarists fares well, paying respect to the tradition while also displaying his own individuality. It is a pity that they do not trade off much or get more competitive. A bit more fire would have made Shivers more memorable, but the music is fun overall.