Stony Plain is proud to release yet another part of Jeff Healey's remarkable legacy. Last Call (SPCD-1335) is Jeff's final studio release - and it stands in marked contrast to the previous three jazz albums released by Stony Plain. The CD will be released in Canada and the U.S. and other territories April 6.
Those albums feature his band, the Jazz Wizards, and numerous friends from the traditional jazz world. Last Call, on the other hand, is in large measure a solo effort, with Jeff playing all the guitar parts, trumpet, and vocals.
There are also valuable contributions from violinist Drew Jurecka (two remarkable recreations of material from the Eddie Lang/Joe Venuti repertoire), and pianist Ross Wooldridge, who plays on a number of the ballads Jeff sings. The vocals, incidentally, are reminiscent of Bing Crosby's best work in the '30s and early '40s.
Jeff's colleague, Alec Fraser, who recorded much of this record in his studio, recalls that his friend had been working on multi-tracked recording for 30 years. "Jeff figured out, when he was a kid, that you could link up two tape recorders, and he was playing with multi-recording projects when he was 10 years old. If you figure his age, and the fact that he was blind, you've got an idea of what you can only call his genius.
"There were some early Sidney Bechet sides, in the '40s, on which he played four instruments, and Jeff admired those," Fraser said. "In this case, he usually played two guitar parts, adding trumpet and vocals as necessary.
"But he was completely familiar with the way to do this, and it didn't present him any difficulties at all, particularly when he was overdubbing guitar parts."
Released with the support of his family, Last Call is another demonstration of Healey's passionate love of classic jazz and early pop music, and his ability to perform it in a fresh, beguiling manner.
Great pop songs - "Time on My Hands," "Pennies from Heaven," "Some of these Days," "Autumn in New York" among them - fit perfectly with lesser-known material and some solid jazz cuts. He also covers some tunes originally heard during the golden age of cinema, including "Hong Kong Blues" and the haunting them from the motion picture "Laura."
The new CD also includes a bonus video of the Fats Waller classic "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter" that's playable on most computers, recorded live with his Jazz Wizards at Healey's Roadhouse in Toronto some nine months before his death.
>> Pre-order the release from stonyplainrecords.com
And a Jazz Wizards concert DVD is coming soon!
Concurrently with the launch of Last Call, Stony Plain will also release Beautiful Noise, a full concert DVD featuring Jeff Healey and The Jazz Wizards, his regular jazz performance band. The DVD will also be released in Canada on April 6.
The concert DVD features 11 tracks with the Jazz Wizards' complete six-piece lineup, none of which are included on Last Call, plus an additional interview and musical footage. The concert was directed by Daniel K. Berman and produced by Berman and Paul McNulty.
Both Beautiful Noise and Last Call are distributed in Canada by Warner Music. In the United States, and around the world, the Beautiful Noise DVD is released and distributed by MVD Entertainment Group.
Watch "I Would Do Anything For You" from the DVD.
>> In Canada? Pre-order the DVD from stonyplainrecords.com