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James Cotton At The Primo Showbar

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Tve always really dug James Cotton's brand of BLUES There's a higher feeling in it that some of the older bluesmen seem to lack. Even on slow, lowdown blues there's little lift at the end hinting at better things to come. In his recent Primo appearance, Cotton, along with his gargantuan sidemen's earth shattering groove, lifted the c crowd higher than the house wine. The first tune of the night was a blues shuffle and the complement of bass, guitar, drums and saxophone crackled. The guitarist took chorus after chorus, crossing from Chicago blues, to rock, to quotes from jazz standards like "How High the Moon". AND IT WASN'T BORING. The rhythm section was so solid and strong, no overblowing, just groove. The jam lasted twenty minutes and could have gone an hour without losing steam. James Cotton took the stage and swept through a variety of material ranging from his days with Muddy Waters to the present. Some high points were "Rocket 88", a super jump tune, "Off the Wall", the Little Walter original on which Cotton blew some beautiful Unes on the harp, "That's Alright", a classic slow blues sung really well and flowing from beginning to end, and a non-blues tune that I'd never heard before about a girl lea vin' by train, that with this band sounded sweet and funky at the same time. It's great at this point.with the situation of the music business as it is, to still be able to hear blues by a great artist undiminished by age or a desire to do anything to widen his audience. James Cotton is such an artist. His current group is electric with the churning urgency of the present and yet has the richness of the blues experience to draw from. His band is an instant education in the simplicity necessary to produce a beautiful sounding groove. The James Cotton band must be brought back to Ann Arbor so that others can appreciate and mostly just enjoy a great musical experience.