Just who is Lucky Henry? I did not know back in 1998 when I first happened into a smoky nightclub in Florida. Up on stage were three men with huge smiles on their faces who seemed to be having more fun than most bands do when they perform jazz. There was a bass solo going on and I was captured by the anticipation the guitarist and drummer had on their faces. They almost looked like proud parents about to watch their young child hit his first home run or take his first tiny steps. These steps weren't tiny, they were giant. As I stood there in the standing room only club I became a fan of Lucky Henry that night. Some say that jazz is dead or trite or formulated. Others think that it must be put on a pedestal and cater to only the highbrow. If those rumors were true then Lucky Henry has invented some new form of Jazz/Rock fusion. Maybe we should call it Razz! The band consists of three musical anomalies Rick Reynolds on guitar, Donnie Morgan on drums and Greg Roth on bass. It is difficult to classify someone's style but when I listen to Rick Reynolds' guitar playing I am reminded of Jeff Beck, Skunk Baxter, Larry Carlton, Larry Coryell. When I asked him once where he got his influence on his phrasing, he said that when he practiced soloing he used to emulate JJ Johnson, Miles Davis, Nat Adderly, Dizzy, Bird and Thelonious Monk. When it comes to structure, Reynolds should publish his own chord book as he creates interesting and unique chords (used as the basis for most of the songs on this CD). An outstanding drummer is easy to spot. They make it look so effortless yet you know deep down inside that they are breaking new ground as they lay the foundation for the songs. Donnie Morgan is that great drummer that comes on the scene very rarely. He not only plays the right groove, he takes it inside and out while dynamically steering the tempo and feel. Often, one will hear cymbal crashes and texture parts in places you would not expect to hear them. New ground for sure. He reminds this writer of great drummers like Billy Cobham, Steve Smith and Alex Acuna. In the late 70's when popping bass parts where beginning to be overused as much as a wah wah pedal in a cop show, Greg Roth was honing his chops as a master walker. Greg's bass style is very unique and warm. One pass through a Lucky Henry song and it becomes clear that Greg is a fan of the walking bass line so prevalent in modern jazz since the 50's. You can hear a major Jaco Pastorius influence in his technique in that Roth seems to not follow the root but lays down an interesting melody of his own while holding down the fort. Morgan and Roth together make a tight rhythm section. In fact Donnie once said that he and Greg are the playground Rick gets to play on. And play they do! After eight years it is finally here, Lucky Henry's debut record. I hope you find this as listenable and enjoyable as I and countless live audiences throughout the North America have! Lucky Henry equals lucky music lovers equal lucky audiences! Newman Price 2006.
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