Daily Archives: June 28, 2022

“ELECTRIC SPANISH”: JAMEY CUMMINS

Some may think it’s an archaic perspective, but I gravitate to music that doesn’t want to attack me. Honey rather than broken glass, to recall Eddie Condon. I don’t mean Easy Listening goo or ambient murmurings, but a sonic embrace that welcomes the listener.

Guitarist Jamey Cummins has made us a present of music that does just that: his new CD, ELECTRIC SPANISH.

I first met Jamey at the Redwood Coast Music Festival and was truly impressed by his easy swing, his natural ability to spin out long melodic lines in the great tradition, so I wanted to hear this disc. And I wasn’t disappointed. Hear for yourself:

I’d asked Jamey to explain the title: not being a guitar aficionado, I didn’t want to show off my ignorance, and he explained, I played a couple of different guitars on this album but they were all hollowbody electrics! The name “Electric Spanish” is a reference to what Gibson called the first electric guitars they made including the Gibson ES-150 played by Charlie Christian. 

The inspiration for this album comes from a place of love for the pioneers of electric jazz guitar! Charlie Christian’s name has become synonymous with the pickup Gibson used in its first models, including the ES-150 he was known to play. My affinity for the almost horn-like, cutting tone of an amplified archtop led me to listen to many of those influenced by Christian, including Oscar Moore, Barney Kessel, Wes Montgomery, and many others!  The goal here was to write a batch of fun swingin’ and groovin’ tunes that had catchy melodies. I wanted to make sure to leave plenty of room for embellishments and allow them to also be sturdy vehicles for improvisation.  I believe we captured a good spirit with our two studio sessions recorded in early 2022 at Eastside Studios in downtown Austin. It features me on guitar (of course) Jim Foster (of many Austin bands) on piano, James Gwyn (formerly with Junior Brown) on drums, and Man about Town Phil Spencer on bass! 

Ordinarily (another facet of my archaic outlook) when I get a CD and it’s all original compositions by the leader, I am slightly wary: many improvisers aren’t equally good at creating songs, but Jamey is a wonderful exception. His tunes, if I may call them that, are spirited, and I found myself humming them after the disc had ended: a sign of durable creativity. And he manages — as the Ancestors did — to get an awful lot of music into a short time-span:

and just one more:

Even I, glued to my chair for long periods, can imagine dancing to those strains.

Here‘s all you need to know, and (ideally) the place to purchase this winning recording at a bargain price. The music that will zip to you through cyberspace will improve your days and nights. Thank you, Jamey, Jim, James (do I see a trend here?) and Phil.

May your happiness increase!