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Tell the Truth!

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Album Review

The world-renowned guitarist Phil Upchurch plays 13 great songs on Tell the Truth. This CD is a gem. Playing blues, soul, R&B, and jazz, Upchurch shows his remarkable versatility on such great songs as "Jive Samba," "La Costa," the title track, and "St. Louis Blues." He performs a flamenco version of "La Costa" with beauty and style, and flaunts his "stride guitar" technique on a solo rendition of "St. Louis Blues." His inimitably smooth and soulful phrasing shines on "Manhattan," and he doubles on harmonica on his original composition "She's Alright." However, the highlights of this great program are "Tell the Truth," a song Upchurch wrote with Ray Charles in mind, and his great arrangement of Dave Brubeck's "Take Five," which he plays much in the same way as he did on George Benson's smash hit "Breezin'." Joined by David Arnay on piano, Kevin Axt on bass, Vince Wilburn, Jr. on drums, and Mike Smith on percussion, this great CD comes 40 years after Upchurch's first recording as a leader, and it's priceless.


Born: July 19, 1941 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

A prolific guitarist who is comfortable playing blues, soul, R&B, and jazz, Phil Upchurch has been a prominent figure in Chicago music circles since the mid-'50s. He initially did freelance sessions with such musicians as Jerry Butler before becoming house guitarist for Chess. Upchurch's sensitive, often funky chording, riffs, and licks were heard on numerous releases by such artists as the Dells, Howlin' Wolf, Gene Chandler, and Muddy Waters. He frequently teamed with drummer Maurice White, who...
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Tell the Truth!, Phil Upchurch
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