Duke Robillard Band
For Dangerous Place, Robillard has met himself somewhere in the middle, melding swing with fuzzed-out guitar. Robillard penned all but two of the 12 tracks, including a couple with horn player Al Basile, and his precision guitar playing occasionally steps to the front, swapping melody and harmony parts back and forth with sax and trumpet on "Going Straight" or picking up a rare solo on "Dangerous Place" or "Duke's Advice."
Robillard has been building eclectic song structures since his Roomful of Blues days. On last year's Duke's Blues he offered a traditional tribute to guitar masters like Albert King, B.B. King and T-Bone Walker, and much of his recent work has been laden with robust, burning guitar assaults. He steps back into restrained and radical blues and jazz hybrids on Dangerous Place, energetically updating 1930s and '40s swing.
Despite the intricacies of the song structures, the true charm of Dangerous Place is that it's a fun record with light-hearted meanderings and upbeat, catchy riffs that twist and shake in your head. And with Robillard's vast talents as performer, producer and singer continuing to flourish, the only thing that's dangerous about his playing is for us to underestimate it.
-- Matt Pensinger