Duke Levine

Beneath the Blues | Loud, Loud Music
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  February 5, 2008
3.5 3.5 Stars
Best known as an MVP for hire by Peter Wolf, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and others, Duke Levine has an encyclopædic knowledge of blues, R&B, rock, pop, and jazz that informs his musicianship. Especially when he’s on his own, leading a group that boasts a crack rhythm section and fellow Boston six-string guru Kevin Barry. His crew for the elegant and playful Beneath the Blues, his first solo album in a decade, includes Barry and drummer Jay Bellerose (Robert Plant and Allison Krauss). Levine’s sense of humor also plays a major role: the disc opens with a surf-guitar treatment of the theme from the ’50s sci-fi classic The Blob and soon slides into a version of Duke Ellington’s “Caravan” that straddles the legacies of Roy Buchanan and Juan Garcia Esquivel. Levine balances the sublime and the strange in this live-in-the-studio session until the finale, “Trio,” a warm-toned roots guitar ramble that teeters on the cusp of jazz. It’s an essay in tension and restraint.

Duke Levine + Club D'Elf | Lizard Lounge, 1667 Mass Ave, Cambridge | February 7 | 617.547.0759
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