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Down in the Mood Room

5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 19, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Virtuoso blues harmonica player Jerry Portnoy, featured soloist with both the Muddy Waters & Eric Clapton bands, blurs the line between blues & jazz on this unique recording, produced by Duke Robillard, and featuring the cream of East Coast musicians: Duke Robillard, Marty Ballou, Steve Ramsey, Gordon Beadle & Doug James. The material covers a wide variety of American music, including jazz classics, timeless standards & witty Portnoy originals. Jerry's signature big-toned sound, the beautiful arrangements & exceptional musicality are sure to attract blues, jazz & harmonica fans everywhere.

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Harmonica hero Jerry Portnoy successfully takes his signature sound beyond the blues on the eclectic Down in the Mood Room. Portnoy leads the listener down several intriguing musical paths, the most fully realized being a selection of jazz standards reinvented and re-energized in a harmonica context. With horn reinforcement and a forceful yet flexible band led by Duke Robillard behind him, Portnoy digs deep into the classic jazz repertoire to deliver a lilting "Lullaby of Birdland," a marvelously moody "Stormy Weather," and a rumbling, lower-register "Sentimental Journey."

The sessions, which open with jazz pianist-composer Horace Silver's "Doodlin'," were produced by Robillard, who plays guitar throughout and sings on a couple of selections, including the vintage swinger "You Rascal You." His jazz-inflected guitar work sparkles in every situation, just as Portnoy's expansive expertise consistently surprises. The jazz mood may dominate, but Portnoy also gets folksy, bringing in fiddle and mandolin on "Jug Band Waltz." And he blows through some scorching blues, spiced by an excellent Robillard guitar solo, on "So Slow." Portnoy, best known for his extended employment with Muddy Waters and Eric Clapton, also sings on two songs, both originals, and provides a few more basic blues tunes. But it is his bold appropriation of jazz for the blues harmonica that makes this such a fascinating exercise in musical imagination. --Michael Point



Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 19, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Tiny Town
  • ASIN: B00005YD7G
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #324,384 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. Suzuka on April 4, 2002
Format: Audio CD
If you are an amateur harmonica player, this is an important album for you. There is much to learn from this album in technique, licks, etc. I've purchased Jerry Portnoy's Blues Harmonica Masterclass instructional and it is the best I have ever come across. This album shows Portnoy in full form and is the perfect compliment to the instructional or vice versa.
For most of you (who are not harmonica players), this album is also great listening. Exceptional musicianship brings life and vitality to every track. Jerry Portnoy definitely holds his own against a solid horn section (which could prove difficult for many harp players) and every note is effortless and precise. Portnoy is a master of his instrument and knows how to push it just enough to create the maximum effect while not appearing excessive. This skill and musical know-how makes this collection of tracks pristine, fulfilling and simply timeless.
Along with great versions of classic songs, Portnoy does a good job on his originals and they seem to fit perfectly into the sound and mood of the album.
I sure hope that this is not the last solo album we'll see from Jerry.....thanks for this great collection of music Mr. Portnoy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 11, 2003
Format: Audio CD
If you like Sonny Terry,Little Walter,Big Walter......if you are in to modern Jump or blues this is a good CD to check out...Nothing Jerry does is bad it's All good
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sam on April 15, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Woeful bad luck if you've not yet heard Jerry Portnoy! This is a master craftsman of not just blues harmonica, but of the hamonica as melodic paint brush. From the first cut, Doodlin' through the last soulful and somber self-inventory of Endless Road, you will not be able to stop listening, again and again.
Each cut consists of tasteful interplay between road-proven and well-honed sidemen and a harp wielded by an artist who crosses the spectrum from soft baby cries to laser sharp counterpointed perfect notes. My only advice for you is this: buy Down in the Mood Room and every other CD on which Jerry plays. You will not be disappointed!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Kindlon on April 28, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Jerry Portnoy's harmonica playing is a national treasure.
His tone is liquid gold and should be enshrined somewhere inside the Smithsonian. This disk isn't about blues, jazz, or American standards; it is simply about fine, fine music.
Attention harp players! You must buy Down in the Mood Room but be prepared to listen with your mouth hangin open. If you love music - any kind - treat yourself and buy this CD now.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Foster on July 18, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A very talented harp player but not the style of music I was looking for.
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