Neal Black & The Healers: Black & Blues
Not only did he friend me, he even let me interview him (watch this space) and got me into his show at the Meridien Etoile Jazz Club, which I got into in more ways than one.
21:34 I arrived late but had a reserved table and didn’t even have to show ID to prove I was who I said I was. He’s playing “Lost Without You”. Is it a hint?
21:36 Slowing it down a bit. I love blues songs about Judgment Day, probably because I’ll still be here to hear them when that day comes around.
21:44 He’s got the voice of a skid row angel or a thunderstorm in Harlem.
21:51 Enough soul in this song to save mine.
21:53 Intros. Piano: Mike Lattrell, Bass: Kris Jefferson, Drums: Vincent Daune
21:56 The jazzy piano with rasping guitar is like a whiskey sour made with Old Crow sour mash.
22:02 Nice rocking end, but I like my blues like my women: soulful, sad and a little bit slow.
22:09 Reminds me how I’m not a big fan of blues in 4-star hotel cocktail bars. Blues doesn’t know hotels. Blues frequents SRO flop houses where most of the crowd are prostitutes between beds.
22:13 “I’m built for comfort, Lord knows I’m not built for speed”. Let’s see Mozart come up with lyrics like that.
22:18 Not a full house but he’s reached those of us here and got us in the palm of his slow hand with the song “Handful of Rain”.
22:24 Break. “Be back in five minutes”.
22:46 He’s back. A French five minutes. Standard “I’m back” song.
22:58 Rousing version of “Who Do You Love”. How can you not tap your feet, smile and feel good about whatever?
23:03 You know the cool part of the evening? It’s right now.
23:06 How can I have forgotten to mention the chimney sweep in the stovepipe hat who’s painting the scene and drumming with his brushes against the canvas?
23:22 Gaëlle Buswel comes out and they do “I’d Rather Go Blind”. During our interview before the show, I told Neal how Gaëlle kills this song and just like that I left my fingerprint on the evening.
23:33 Plus she’s got this ‘snake in black leather’ groove going on and that adds an extra pinch of Oh-My-God.
23:36 Gaëlle takes “Stormy Monday”, rocks it, rolls it, owns it, loves it, betrays it, knocks it back, lifts it up and tears it down, then wraps it around her little finger.
23:38 Last song of the night. Neal introduces it in heavily accented French, “Pink Chainsaw Boogie”. If songs like this exist, anything can happen.Image credits:
Album cover from Qobuz Jazz
All other images by Paul Prescott