|Flyin Right CD Liner Notes
Bill Stuve has been the slappin’ bass player of the Mighty Flyers for nearly 30 years. Those decades on the bandstands around the world have ingrained Bill’s love of traditional blues with his dedication to an offshoot of the period, jump blues.
In everything he plays or records, Bill has a simple mission. He wants the world to love the thumpin’ rockin’ music that evolved when swing moved to California and mated with R&B in the 1940’s. As jump grew up, blues men like Roy Brown, Big Joe Turner, Louis Jordan, Wynonie Harris, and T-Bone Walker put their blues stamp on that infectious sound and jump was officially born.
Today, that sound is essentially built around a boogie woogie piano, upright bass, fat, jumpin’ guitar tones, honkin’ tenor saxes, and lively finger tappin’ drums.
That’s where Bill Stuve comes in. His first two independent releases, Say Man and Big Noise, available at his web site, www.stuve.com., are essentially West Coast parties. The players are a hip who’s who of West coast blues, and the songs are guaranteed to transport the listener back to the 1950’s sound.
On Flyin’ Right, Stuve again called in some of the best West coast’s finest musicians. Henry Carvejal, Bill’s Mighty Flyer sidekick, supplies his fat West Coast jumpy guitar sound. Ace drummer Stephen Hodges lays down the swingin’ beat while Steve F’Dor adds the necessary piano magic. Add the triple threat sax appeal of Jonny Viau, Joe Perez, and Tray Jennings and Bill has assembled a cast of well schooled musicians who’ll flat out have you dancin’ in the streets.
Unlike others who record a different sound on each record, he’s devoted his life to singing and playing the music he loves. The more be plays it, the better he gets. Just listen to the his handling of the opening song, Honey Bee, one of the classics of jump blues. From the swinging sax foundation to Henry Carvejal’s blistering Roy Gaines guitar rifts to Steve F’Dor’s playful piano, Bill’s approach hits the bullseye. Listen to the next six tunes, all Stuve originals and believe this. Bill knows the approach of the musical period he plays in so well that it’s hard to differentiate between these Bill Stuve originals and the classics of the jump blues genre.
At the center of this music is whether the drummer and bass player are in synch. Bill’s told me, “If you don’t have a relationship musically with your drummer, the whole band will suffer. When a drummer and bass player are in synch they have the ability to push the other members of the band. Check out how locked Stuve’s heavy bass and Hodges’ traditional old school drums are on Stuve originals like “Jumpin’,” “Leave That Boogie To Me”, and “All These Blues.” That thunderous beat lets F’Dor’s piano soar and Carvejal’s Gibson twist and stretch. Connect to jump blues classics like Dave Bartholomew’s “Jump Children” with its high flyin’ piano and Wynonie Harris’ “Conjured” with its massive tenor and baritone punch and be warned that if you applaud after each rift, your hands will be throbbin’.
But there’s more fun. On “Lookout,” Henry bums his acoustic archtop in a stylish 4 X 4, Stephen brushes the snare, Steve quietly coaxes warm tones from his piano and Bill thumps the bass like he’s Willie Dixon auditioning the Big 3 in the late 1940’s before this music switched on electricity. Then, on ‘Bad Luck And Trouble,” the same hand plugs into a classic Chicago ensemble blues approach.
“I try to make my stuff with a little different coloring, jumpy and add my own touch. It’s all from the land of the blues and the late 1940’s era I love.”
If these are the days you look for in music, a time when the lines of rock and roll, R&B, jazz, and blues blurred, Bill Stuve’s “Flyin Right” Is the time machine to get you there.
Art Tipaldi - Senior Writer for Blues Revue and BluesWax and author of the book Children of the Blues.