Jimmy Vivino and the Rekooperators
Do What, Now?
MusicMasters 01612-65157-2
Guitarist Jimmy Vivino, best-known to the general public as the guitarist in Conan O'Brien's house band and to blues audiences for his work with the re-formed Blues Project, gets a big hand from long-time friend, collaborator and producer Al Kooper. Vivino is a first-rate guitarist and a good enough singer, but Do What, Now? seems to be more about taste, energy, variety and fun than a signature sound. Nothing beyond Kooper's distinctive keyboards comes across as exceptionally original but rather as a tight, crafty selection of blues standards and a few lesser-known tunes.

Vivino plays a nice, deep lead on Percy Mayfield's "Strange Things Happenin'," one of two Mayfield songs on the album. A New Orleans-tinged "Sugaree" is fine, as is the acoustic setting of Elmore James' "Stranger Blues," with Kooper on acoustic piano and the legendary Nashville mandolinist Sam Bush contributing. Muddy Waters' "Little Geneva" is also given an acoustic treatment with nice mandolin work from Kooper and a guest appearance on harp by John Sebastian. A third acoustic cut, Blind Willie Johnson's oft-covered "God Don't Never Change" is given a peppy, almost light-hearted setting which somehow works. The acoustic tunes in particular add a lot of breadth and interest to the overall work.

The rhythm section of bassist Harvey Brooks and drummer Anton Fig is steady and flawless, rounding out this quartet of seasoned pros. You won't find anything new, but there are plenty of good times to be had.

-- Jennifer Zogott

This page and all contents are © 1997 by BLUES ACCESS,
Boulder, CO, USA.