Doug Wamble is a baby-faced guitarist from the southern United States (born in Tennessee, studied in Florida and Illinois) who mixes his jazz with all manner of other musical styles: gospel, country, R&B and even a bit of rock. Like millions of other kids Doug grew up with his ear cocked to what was on the radio and so is familiar with the great depths of contemporary popular American music. But being from the south and spending significant time in the big churning mill of American music, Memphis, his ear has always been tuned, equally, to the deep roots of that music. It was love affair with the records of Charlie Christian that turned him towards performance.
Moving to the Big Apple in the late 1990’s, Wamble fell in with the a crowd that included the Marsalis brothers, Wynton and Branford, Cassandra Wilson and Madeliene Peyroux, all of which he toured or recorded with. Indeed, his first few records came out on the Marsalis label. And though he was seen, early on, as a proficient proponent of the Marsalisesque jazz puritanism, his curious and hungry curiosity led him to try mixing different sounds into his music.
Bluestate came out in 2005 to very good reviews. It is a strong example of contemporary American-roots jazz, but by that I don’t mean New Orleans or Dixieland. Or any other archivist approach. Rather it is more akin to the Ry Cooder spirit: a celebration of the many ways in which the electric guitar can make and mold American music. So you have twany, slidey Hawaiian runs, groovin’ gospel flavoured tones (including a nice little chorus that goes, the Hebrew children rockin’ in Jerusalem, the Christian children rockin’ in Jerusalem, the Muslim children rockin’ in Jerusalem and very cool stuttering Monk rhythms.
Bluestate is a record with lots going on and is not one of those albums that you listen to a few times and ‘know’ . It is full of surprises, and unexpected turns. Wamble’s voice is not his strongest suit but hey, who’s really complaining. It is all about the man’s music, guitar and vision.
Ring them bells!
01 If I Live To See The Day
02 Washing Of The Water
03 Homewrecker Hump
04 Antoine’s Pillow Book
05 Rockin’ In Jerusalem
07 No More Shrubs In Casablanca
08 Have A Talk With God
09 Gone Away
10 Bear And The Toad