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Read the latest reviews of Jimi's CD, Cheap Thrills!

 

 

Dear Jimi,
       Thanks so much for taking these live recordings from your personal collection and sharing them with us. Hearing the “Peter Gunn Theme” with Luther Tucker and Mark Hummel from 1985 is like opening a special vintage bottle of wine that’s been cellared for decades. And you were only 20. Very special. The high-powered energy is so cool I feel like I was there with the mic hidden in my jacket.

I know that playing with Rod Piazza and the Flyers was your dream gig, so thanks for parting with seven special Flyer moments from 1987 to 1992. You really nailed that double shuffle on Rod’s chromatic “The Eliminator.” It reminds me of how Rod starts off every show, high flyin’ and over the top. I’ve long been a fan of the Mighty Flyers, so to include “That’s What You Do to Me” from 1987 with Junior Watson on guitar is a rare treat. Watson’s tone is as sleek as the lines on a classic Corvette. And when the song accelerates, Watson’s dynamics amp up the ride, pushing and pushing the speed limit. P.S. I love hearing your niece yelling, “Go Uncle Jimi!” That cracks me up.

No Flyer show was ever complete without you and Honey doing a brilliant drum piano surge. So instead of pressing songs we all know, you asked Honey for something unique and she responded with “The Bumble Boogie/The Nutcracker” medley. It’s her classical upbringing meets her boogie woogie passion. But there’s even an Alex Schultz guitar bridge holdin’ it all together. I loved how you and Honey recreated the big bands of the 1930’s on Louis Prima’s “Sing, Sing, Sing.” And when you see Alex, be sure to tell him “Jam Up” is one of my favorites on the record. Its 10 minutes perfectly captures the night-to-night spontaneity of the Mighty Flyers.

You couldn’t have picked a better way to end then with the deepest blues, Rod’s soulful “Ah’w Baby” from 1990. Your drum techniques were put on the world stage when you left the Flyers and joined the Fabulous Thunderbird. I’m glad you included two tunes with Kim Wilson, one song featuring Kid Ramos and the other with Kirk Fletcher. The only bad thing about this record is that it ends. Jimi, please thank Rod and Honey, Kim, Junior Watson, Alex, and Mark Hummel for giving you permission to release these songs. One thing is unmistakable, no matter who you play with, you’ve always been the engine that drives the music.

By Art Tipaldi -- Blues Revue, April/May 2005, Issue, #93

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I was once told by an acquaintance of mine who writes reviews for nationally-distributed Blues publications, that you should never write anything involving friends of yours. They would just come out overly biased in their favor.  Well, that may be, but I can't think of any better artist's CD of late to praise than this disc by Jimi Bott.  Long before I became acquainted with him I regarded Jimi to be one of the finest drummers I'd ever heard.  Numerous recordings have proven that, as well as his six W.C. Handy award nominations for Blues Drummer of the Year.  Well, this collection of live dates from various periods of Jimi's career should seal the fact for certain: Jimi Bott is one helluva drummer!

Over the years, Jimi has worked with some of the best musicians to be found on the West Coast.  This CD spans from 1985 when he was just a 20-year-old kid through 2002, featuring live performances with Mark Hummel & The Blues Survivors, Rod Piazza & The Mighty Flyers and The Fabulous Thunderbirds.  Not only are these exciting live outfits, but they also offered extraordinary artisits within from top to bottom.  Guitarists abound on this CD: Junior Watson, Kid Ramos, Kirk Fletcher, Pat Chase.  It's almost a Who's Who of California guitar.  Perhaps the most amazing fret work on the album comes from a 1985 Mark Hummel date that found Luther Tucker sitting in delivering a stunning example of his fluttering string playing with a rousing version of "Peter Gunn."  Just as thrilling is the nearly 10-minute guitar opus "Jam Up!" with Alex Schultz; never a drop in intensity despite its time length.  Beside the guitar heroes, Miss Honey shines as always behind the keyboard, often sharing the stage alone with just the drummer.  And, the harp and vocals of Kim Wilson soar on two numbers, including Jimi's own composition, "Cheap Thrills."

But this recording is only as thrilling as it is because of the steady and often frenetic handiwork of Jimi himself behind the drums.  He lays the pace that makes all the numbers excel.  And, for a clear display of just how demanding he can be on-stage, give a listen to the nearly seven-minute drum solo on "Tribute To Gene, Buddy & Louie."  My girlfriend said it to Jimi best on the first time I took her to see him play, "You make me sweat just watching you!"  This song should leave you just as breathless.  As should the whole of this collection.  It says "Volume I" in the title.  I can hardly wait for the next one.  Great job, Jimi!  Biased as that may sound.

By Greg Johnson -- CBA Blues Notes, February 2005, Volume 19, #2

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Jimi Bott is best known as one of the best drummers on the blues circuit today....  Thus, it would be easy to mis-categorize this new collection of live tracks, Cheap Thrills (Roseleaf Records), as strictly a showcase for Bott's prodigious talents on the drum kit.  Instead, the 11 cuts on Cheap Thrills, consisting of live recordings that Bott made with the Mighty Flyers, Mark Hummel, and the Fabulous Thunderbirds, contains more hot guitar playing than just about any CD on the market today.  That's not to say that Bott doesn't get to showcase himself on the drums, which he does on the duets with pianist Miss Honey on the Mighty Flyers' "The Bumble Boogie & The Nutrocker" and "Sing Sing Sing," and on his own composition, the seven minute drum solo, "Tribute to Gene, Buddy & Louie," which could be a primer for anyone wanting to learn every great drum beat possible.  Among the smokin' guitar wanks are ones from Junior Watson on the 1987 recording of "That's What You Do To Me," Luther Tucker on the instrumental "Peter Gunn," an even hotter instrumental, "Frosty," featuring the talents of Curtis Smith & Mike Schermer, and an extended 1992 Mighty Flyers instrumental, "Jam Up," featuring Alex Schultz.  The best vocal performance comes from Kim Wilson, fronting The Fabulous Thunderbirds (with horns added) in a 1992 live performance at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix, on O.V. Wright's "I'd Rather be Blind, Crippled and Crazy."  Of course, there is also plenty of incendiary harmonica playing, most notably the Mighty Flyers instrumental, "The Eliminator," which opens the CD.  Bott provides background information on every single cut, making this disc a valuable history lesson on the Southern California blues scene.  It's worth the price just for the music enclosed within --- the rest is just gravy.  Buy it!

By Bill Mitchell -- Blues Bytes, February 2005, Volume 10, #2

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Jimi Bott has forged a formidable reputation as one of the blues world’s most talented drummers, having worked and recorded with many of the greats of modern day blues, especially those artists who are known as voyeurs of the West Coast blues scene; typical comments reading like this one from Kim Wilson who says “Jimi is one of the top drummers in the world and it’s an honour to work with him”.

For fans of artists like Kim Wilson, Rod Piazza et al, “Cheap Thrills” is a treasure trove of previously unreleased live recordings drawn from Bott’s collection “live board, walkman and demo cassette tapes” that were found in his basement in 2003; all featuring Bott working with various blues greats at different times throughout his career.

The set opens with “The Eliminator”, a swinging harp fired shuffle featuring Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers recorded live at Carlos O’Briens, Riverside, California in 1991.  Piazza shows his superb mastery of the chromatic harp on a number on which Bott, Bill Stuve, Miss Honey and Alex Schultz lay down the kind of vibrant groove that allowed Piazza to stretch out and shine.  Piazza is again in magnificent form on Little Walter’s “Ah’w Baby”, a moody West Coast/Chicago hybrid with deeply intense vocals and harp, beautifully understated guitar (Schultz) and deep rolling piano.  Alex Schultz takes the spotlight on “Jam Up!”, an improvisation recorded in 1992 that opens with Miss Honey laying down some moody piano before Schultz segues in with a repetitive guitar riff before stretching out to tease every nuance from each and every note as Stuve and Bott lock into the tightest of grooves; whilst Miss Honey takes the spotlight with a wild medley of “The Bumble Boogie /The Nutrocker” (JJ’s Room, San Jose, 1992) fired by the train-like rhythms of Bott and Stuve.

Fans of the Fabulous Thunderbirds will love their two featured tracks, opening with “I’d Rather Be Blind Crippled And Crazy” (Rhythm Room, Phoenix, 2002), a tough slab of R&B with Wilson in great voice underpinned by Gene Taylor’s rolling piano and a baying horn section featuring Doug James, Joe Sublet and Darrel Leonard; whilst “Cheap Thrills” is a previously unreleased slab of stomping R&B recorded in 1996, featuring Wilson’s high energy vocals underpinned by Taylor’s hard rocking piano and a thunderous backbeat, Kid Ramos’ feral r’n’r guitar exploding all over the mix.

Jimi Bott takes centre stage, along with Miss Honey, as they unleash a duo recording of a big band swing number with “Sing Sing Sing (With A Swing)”  (JJ’s, 1992), a dramatic and uncanny liaison between piano and drums; whilst “Tribute To Gene, Buddy and Louis” (Sully’s, Detroit 1992) is a drum extravaganza that shows Bott at the height of his powers.

The set is rounded out with a typically wild performance from Jr Watson of Roscoe Gordon’s “That’s What you Do To Me” (1987); Mark Hummel’s Blues Survivors featuring Luther Tucker laying down a wild and bluesy “Peter Gunn” (1985); whilst the stunning interplay between the twin Strats of Curtis Smith and Mike Schermer on a swinging, jazz inflected “Frosty” (2004) has to be heard to be believed.

A must for all West Coast aficionados and roll on Volume 2!

Rating 9

By Mick Rainsford -- Blues In Britain

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Studio recordings never seem to capture the raw power of the live performance. Jimi Bott has released Live Volume 1: Cheap Thrills, a collection of the finest live recordings spanning his music career. Jimi is a highly respected and sought-after drummer in the blues community. "The Bumble Boogie & The Nutrocker" medley and "Sing Sing Sing" showcase the accomplished swing/boogie piano work of Miss Honey (Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers) and Jimi's mastery of swing-style drumming ala Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. The bombs are flying. If you're a guitar fan there's plenty for you, as well. Luther Tucker's sharp staccato guitar solo on "Peter Gunn" will have you yearning for tall surf and California sun. Alex Schultz stretches out for 10 minutes of wild improve on "Jam Up." There's more to recommend than space will allow. This one will surely make plenty of "Top 10s" this year.

By Ray "Catfish" Copeland -- Tower.com, March 24 2005

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Jimi Bott has wisely taken the initiative to release this high-powered set of “hidden treasures”, clandestinely recorded (and, in some instances, enhanced) by various people at live performances over the last 20 years.  Unless you were already a hard-core fan of The Fabulous Thunderbirds and Rod Piazza & The Mighty Flyers, you probably aren’t familiar with this drummer’s name.  With the release of Cheap Thrills, that will surely change.  He is indeed one kick-ass drummer who could never be called lazy!

The CD gets right down to business with a slightly scratchy, full-tilt boogie shuffle called “The Eliminator”, performed by Rod Piazza & The Mighty Flyers, from their own repertoire of originals.  The furiously improvised harmonica leads would have challenged many a rhythm section, but Bott and company were up to the challenge.  A tad more bass in the mix would have touched it up nicely.

Following that is Roscoe Gordon’s more laid-back, but certainly not musically idle “That’s What You Do to Me” (one of only a few songs containing vocals).  It is performed on guitar and sung by Junior Watson, who has played with Charlie Musselwhite and Sonny Rhodes, among many other blues acts.  He’s a strong-voiced singer and a very fluid player who puts a lot of feeling behind his techniques.  The sound reproduction here is excellent, and the enthusiastic response from the crowd speaks for itself.

The ensuing guitar-crazy version of Henry Mancini’s classic “Peter Gunn” is one you won’t soon forget, either.  The emphasis here is on lead rather than bass guitar, and Luther Tucker (Robert Lockwood, Jr., J.T. "Big Boy" Brown, Little Walter, Otis Spann, Jimmy Rogers, etc.) is the guitar maniac in question.  Harp-honcho Mark Hummel (providing a terrific substitute for the original brass) and his Blues Survivors, guitarist Pat “Guitar Slim” Chase and bassist Tim Wagar, complete this almost-7-minute masterpiece.  It’s a stand-out performance, but I would have a lot of difficulty picking a favourite among the many virtuoso guitarists on this CD.  Curtis Smith (on strat) and Mike Schermer (on tele) had my head spinning on Albert Collins’ “Frosty”.   Thom Merida, on electric piano, provided this “Bay Area Rhythm Round Up” track.

A most pleasant surprise for me was becoming acquainted with keyboardist Miss Honey (Piazza).  She is featured on several tracks, most impressively on a Jack Fina/Kim Fowley medley called “The Bumble Boogie/The Nutrocker” and “Sing Sing Sing (With a Swing)”.  The latter is a “pared-down” duet of the big-band number that features her nimble noodling on piano and Jimi doing the tom-tom thing on drums.

The blues are rocked up good and heavy on Jimi’s brand-new composition, “Cheap Thrills”, with The Fabulous Thunderbirds’ Kim Wilson on vocals, Kid Ramos on guitar, Gene Taylor on piano, Willie J. Campbell on bass and Jimi on drums.  Just as an aside, Gene appears on the new Downchild Blues Band’s CD, Come On In, along with a host of other stellar players.  The T-Birds also contribute a punchy R&B sound on “I’d Rather Be Blind, Crippled and Crazy”.

Jimi gives some added exposure to ubiquitous guitar whiz Alex Schultz, who tears up the house on a 10-minute improvisation of the late Tommy Ridgley’s “Jam Up”.  Alex’s suggestion that Jimi edit this track for the purpose of brevity went unheeded, and rightfully so, especially if you’re hip to jazz guitar.

While Jimi admits to a bit of self-indulgent pride regarding his extended staccato smackdown, “Tribute to Gene, Buddy and Louie” (referring to Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich and the lesser-known Louie Belson), there is no denying this prodigy long ago reached a level of expertise on par with his idols.  The final outro minute is worth the price of the CD itself.  Hot, “Fire Boy”, very, very hot!

Rod Piazza’s peppery version of Little Walter’s “Ah’w Baby (You’re Looking Good Again Tonight”) almost didn’t make it onto the CD, but I think it was a perfect blues “chill-out”.

Cheap Thrills is so very much more than that - it’s a testament to Joplin’s adage, “Get It While You Can”.

By Diane Wells -- Rockin the Blues from Canada, March 2005

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A Fine Bottle of Wine

Jimi Bott has gone into his private wine cellar and uncorked some of the finest vintage recordings from his collection. Bott first appeared on the Blues scene as a timekeeper up and down the West Coast. Then, in the late 1980s, he landed the dream Blues job as the drumming engine behind Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers. When he left the Flyers in the mid-1990s it was to drive the Fabulous Thunderbirds.

Throughout those years of gigs, Jimi, like so many other musicians, has a vast collection of his live performances. And like that aforementioned fine wine, these priceless tunes have spent years aging to perfection in Jimi's cellar. The oldest bottle of Blues in Bott's cellar is a very cool "Peter Gunn Theme" featuring Mark Hummel and Luther Tucker from 1985 that Jimi told me actually went much longer than these seven minutes. Bott parts with seven special moments with the Mighty Flyers from 1987 to 1992 to accurately capture all the raw energy of that nightly West Coast Blues explosion. On the first song, he's nailing a sharp, double shuffle behind Rod Piazza's chromatic work on "The Eliminator." This is a brilliant reminder of how Piazza starts off every show with high flyin', over the top energy. Bott's next song, "That's What You Do To Me," is a rare Mighty Flyer treat from 1987 with Junior Watson on guitar. This song comes from one of Bott's first gigs with the Flyers, a Battle of the Harmonicas in San Francisco. As always, Watson's tone is as sleek as the lines on a classic Corvette. And when the song accelerates, Watson's dynamics amp up the ride, pushing and pushing the speed limit. Listen in the background to Jimi's niece yelling, "Go Uncle Jimi!". No Flyer show was complete without Bott and Honey Piazza doin' a brilliant drum/piano surge. Here, Jimi shares two of those moments. Instead of pressing songs we all know, Bott asked Honey for something unique and she responded with "The Bumble Boogie/The Nutcracker" medley. It's pure Classical meets Boogie-Woogie with an Alex Schultz guitar bridge holdin' it together. Bott and Honey recreate the big bands of the 1930s on Louis Prima's "Sing, Sing, Sing." And Alex Schultz's "Jam Up" is a favorite to be played over and over because it perfectly captures the spontaneity of the Mighty Flyers.

The final Flyers' song ends the CD with the Piazzas' deepest Blues, "Ah'w Baby" from 1990. The two Fabulous Thunderbird tunes with Kim Wilson show off Bott's drums on the worldwide stage. He includes his own song "Cheap Thrills" from 1996 with Kid Ramos and another, "I'd Rather Be Blind, Crippled, and Crazy," from 2002 with Ramos and new T-Bird guitarist Kirk Fletcher. Bott's very personal liner notes offer precious looks into the music and people that have shaped him.

Remember that these songs were recorded live, so while there is no studio perfection, there is that live passion and energy we fans go out night after night to be part of. Back to wine analogy: After you open that finely aged vintage bottle and pour it, it's gone. These rare collectables from Bott's cellar can be enjoyed over and over. Can't wait to enjoy Vol. 2.

By Art Tipaldi -- April 20 2005

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One of the most respected blues drummers in the world, San Francisco-born Jimi Bott worked with just about every big name in the blues.  On this CD, Jimi presents some of the folks he's shared the stage with at the "top of their games," all live and unreleased.  There are great cuts from perhaps his most famous employer, Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers, with "Ah'w Baby," as well as backing Miss Honey as she rocks the 88's on "Bumble Boogie," and "Sing, Sing, Sing."  His works with The Fabulous Thunderbirds serve as our favorites, though.  "I'd Rather Be Blind, Crippled and Crazy," is a classic soul song with a fine delivery from Kim Wilson, and a new song, "Cheap Thrills," again features Kim Wilson and Kid Ramos on guitar.  This is live, rockin' blues at its best from a master of the backbeat.  Many thanks to Jimi Bott for bringing some "Cheap Thrills" to blues fans everywhere!!

By Sheryl & Don Crow -- Volume 14, #4, April 2005

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Studio recordings never seem to capture the raw power of the live performance. Jimi Bott has released Live Volume 1: Cheap Thrills, a collection of the finest live recordings spanning his music career. Jimi is a highly respected and sought-after drummer in the blues community. "The Bumble Boogie & The Nutrocker" medley and "Sing Sing Sing" showcase the accomplished swing/boogie piano work of Miss Honey (Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers) and Jimi's mastery of swing-style drumming ala Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. The bombs are flying. If you're a guitar fan there's plenty for you, as well. Luther Tucker's sharp staccato guitar solo on "Peter Gunn" will have you yearning for tall surf and California sun. Alex Schultz stretches out for 10 minutes of wild improve on "Jam Up." There's more to recommend than space will allow. This one will surely make plenty of "Top 10s" this year. Drummer Jimi Bott has provided the whip cracking backbeat to some of the most significant West Coast Blues recordings of the past twenty years. As a member of Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers he appeared on my personal favorite of their recordings, Live at BB King’s Blues Club (1994). He was a part of William Clarke’s Alligator releases Serious Intentions and Groove Time as well as Johnny Dyer’s Listen Up and Junior Watson’s debut, Long Overdue. Bott also manned the kit on three Mark Hummel CDs. Beginning as a teen with Hummel’s Soul Surviviors throughout his stints with Harman, Piazza and Clarke to his current gig with Kim Wilson and the Fabulous Thunderbirds Bott has backed the cream of the crop among the left coast’s harmonica masters. Name dropping aside, its Bott’s obvious ability to find and mine the groove that has drawn him to the attention of such world class talent.

Live Volume 1/Cheap Thrills is a collection of Jimi Bott’s work with many of the above mentioned performers and more. It’s an audio scrapbook that takes the listener into the clubs where the magic was made, capturing some stellar moments that would have otherwise been lost in the foggy memories of the small group of lucky folks in attendance. Most of the action is centered around Rod Piazza and The Mighty Flyers who appear with and without their leader in various forms throughout. The collection opens with Piazza ripping through the registers on “The Eliminator” while Bott and crew keep the momentum rolling without jumping the tracks. Quite an accomplishment indeed, considering the sheer overpowering quality of Piazza’s breakneck runs.

Guitarist Junior Watson gets a well deserved star turn on “That’s What You Do To Me,” from 1987 showcasing solid vocals that are just now getting a full time workout in his solo act. Long considered one of the premier guitarists backing Harp players, here he shows evidence of a full bag of tricks more than capable of stealing the spotlight when the opportunity arises. Another guitar showcase is “Peter Gunn,” by Mark Hummel & The Blues Survivors with special guest Luther Tucker. The former James Cotton sideman lights it up with some fleet single note leads and scorching runs pushed forward by Bott’s driving drums. Recorded in ’85, this is the set’s oldest track and a fitting tribute to the under recognized Tucker.

The Fabulous Thunderbirds pop up twice here. “I’d Rather Be Blind, Crippled and Crazy,” is old school, horn driven soul recorded in 2002 at The Rhythm Room in Phoenix AZ. Title track “Cheap Thrills,” is a Bott penned rocker that fits into the T-Birds canon quite nicely and features hard driving guitar by Kid Ramos as well as Gene Taylor’s trademark honkytonk piano runs. For someone best known backing harp players, Bott showcases a lot of great guitar on this disc also. Curtis Smith and Mike Schermer add to the six string heroics with a solid eight minute take of the Albert Collins chestnut “Frosty,” recorded at The Rhythm Round Up held annually in Watsonville, California. Alex Schultz gets the honor of longest track, however, with the nearly ten minute long “Jam Up,” featuring one of my personal favorite Flyer units including Honey Piazza and bassist Bill Stuve. Schultz is another West Coast guitar burner who combines tasteful licks with the ability to take off into the stratosphere at any given moment.

The drummer gets some on a series of showcase pieces that also spotlight the redoubtable Miss Honey’s Boogie Woogie keyboard work. “The Bumble Boogie & The Nutrocker,” kick off the run with Stuve and Schultz sitting in as Honey artfully blends boogie and classical riffs backed by Bott’s almost military back beat. “Sing Sing Sing (With a Swing),” and “Tribute to Gene, Buddy & Louie,” are piano/drum duos that rattle the rafters while paying homage to the Big Band era and its drum masters. I have fond memories of these numbers from the several times I’ve seen the Flyers and it’s nice to have some personal favorites included. These cuts also reinforce the influence that Big Band Jazz and Swing had on the West Coast sound. The set concludes with Piazza returning to the helm on Little Walter’s “Ah’w Baby,” which emphasizes the band’s heart and soul after all the instrumental virtuosity that proceed it, a nice closing touch indeed.

By Bill Halaszynski -- May 2005

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There are some Blues fans who may be unfamiliar with Jimi Bott’s name so let's clear that up right away; Jimi’s currently the drummer with the Fabulous Thunderbirds, but his resume history reads like Hank Snow’s “I’ve Been Everywhere.”  One of the ‘West Coast Crew’ of Modern Blues Jumpers, Bott is everyone’s favorite ‘stickman’ and for good reason.  HE SWINGS ‘back there’ and he has so much exuberance, fun and rhythm that you get a feeling Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa would love him.  Having established Jimi’s identity (oh yeah, he’s toured/recorded with Rod Piazza’s Mighty Flyers, Mark Hummel & The Blues Survivors, Junior Watson, Kid Ramos, Kirk Fletcher and Lynnwood Slim among many others…) it’s important that consumers not be confused/mislead by the title i.e. YES, IT’S JIMI BOTT, but it’s also incredible live performances by The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Rod Piazza, Mark Hummel, Luther Tucker, Alex Schultz, Junior Watson etc. with Jimi on drums on every track.  Just about every professional musician on this planet has a library of live/studio tapes from their gigs sitting at home and in most cases there’s magical, amazing music sitting on those shelves, but very seldom does it ever get off those shelves and into the ears of the public (a certain musician who shall remain nameless, had literally dozens of hours of him playing with legends like Eddie Vinson, Lightnin Hopkins, Buddy Guy, Jr.Wells and Big Mama Thornton a.o., and when I later suggested putting the tapes out on records/cds, he replied “Oh, I taped rehearsals over them…I ran out of tape…”)  So, thank God that Jimi Bott has managed to preserve all these awesome/historical recordings that span 1982-2004 from a host of live venues with band lineups that boggle the mind.  As it states in Jimi’s liner notes, “…These are some of my favorite performers from my personal collection.  They consist of live board, walkman and demo cassette tapes found in my basement in 2003…”  This stuff brings back memories and confirms that the many bands working out of California in the 1980s/90s were out-of-this-frigging-world with Talent and Joy.  We open with Piazza and The Mighty Flyers 1991 in Riverside, CA.  with Rod blowin’ wild on chromatic, Jimi swingin’ on the kit, while the band lays back on “The Eliminator.”  Junior Watson in “That’s What You Do To Me” is from The Fillmore/San Francisco in ’87 as a member of The Mighty Flyers and there’s a great sense of audience Joy captured and it’s wonderful to hear Jimi’s 8-year-old niece ‘losin’ it’ as she yells encouragement to her Uncle.  Track #3 is the most dangerous guitar instrumental you’ll EVER HEAR folks.  Luther Tucker, the INCREDIBLE LUTHER (with Hummel’s Blues Survivors), goes to the wall on the nastiest “Peter Gunn Theme” you’ll ever experience.  Rabid, crazed, and oh-so-nasty, Luther proves here that HE WAS KING when he wanted to be…this is one of those transcendental, COMMUNING WITH SPIRITS performances that happens when the Moon Is Rising…audience members yelling, screaming in awe!  (Oh yeah, bandmates contributing to this to-die-for track are Pat Chase on rhythm guitar, Tim Wagar (bass) and Hummel, on harp, who got swept away by the Power and blows mean notes – this is the type of tune you play over-the-phone to anyone who’ll listen…thank God, and thank Jimi for putting this killer tune out…Luther will certainly get some belated respect from the Blues public).  #4 is The T-Birds from 2002 live at the Rhythm Room, Phoenix complete with a big horn section of Joe Sublet, Doug James and Darrell Leonard and it’s got a great, rockin’ version of O.V. Wright’s “Blind, Crippled And Crazy” and besides the tough horns (gotta love that baritone!) we get the one-two punch from Kim Wilson (vocals) and Kirk Fletcher with perfect-tone guitar parts.  (Fletcher is a monster and well on his way to fame/notoriety).  #5 is especially nice to have as it features two ‘lesser-known’ but superb players, Curtis Smith and Mike Schermer at a ‘backyard barbeque (a.k.a. The Rhythm Round Up) in Watsonville, CA in ’98.  These two pickers are old buddies of Jimi’s and it’s a fierce piece of beauty as they go nuts on “Frosty” Albert Collin’s signature tune.  #6 is “Cheap Thrills,” a Bott original performed by Kim Ramos.  #7 “Jam Up” (the super Tommy Ridley tune from ‘way back’) has the largely-unheralded Alex Schultz rockin’ it out on guitar as a member of The Mighty Flyers and then we get Miss Honey Alexander doin’ her show-stoppin’ “Bumble Boogie/The Nutcracker” a tune that’s so much fun!  What a gas! (If you haven’t heard Honey’s take on this classic you’re missin’ something special).  Next, we have perhaps the true ‘gem’ of this CD (along with Mr. Tucker’s contribution, of course) “SingSingSing” with, if you can believe it, just Jimi on drums and Honey on piano pounding/swinging-out on a tune usually performed by 20-plus pieces.  This is where Mr. Bott shows his stuff and you see why bands love to have him in their lineup.  I’ll also add that Honey Alexander is a very very gifted musician who brings Joy to many souls (that’s what it’s all about, right?) When the track segues into “Tribute To Gene, Buddy and Louie” featuring Jimi on an absolutely swingin’ solo you can’t help but get caught up in this masterpiece.  “Ah’w Baby” shows a more subdued Rod Piazza on this deep Little Walter classic (a tough one to do vocally due to Walter’s key-changeups) and Rod plays from The Soul on this one.  Nice Soulful closer.  So, Bravo to Jimi Bott for sharing this very personal magic with us.  It truly captures the joy of performing and when you read the liner notes by Jimi you’ll also start to grasp the depth of camaraderie and brotherhood amongst everyone involved (one way or another).  Hey, it’s like the Europeans/Japanese say “Musicians are Exceptional/Special People, for they give us gifts of Joy.”  This CD is packed with Joy.  6 Bottles for a mandatory experience.

By A. Grigg -- Issue #29, 2005

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Jimi Bott, the drummer touring with The Fabulous Thunderbirds, has released his debut album depicting only some of his tremendous work through the years. The songs are never before released live tracks featuring many of today's finest blues artists including: Junior Watson, Kim Wilson, Rod Piazza, Honey Piazza, Kid Ramos, Mark Hummel, Kirk Fletcher and Alex Schultz to name a few.

A current resident of Portland, OR, when he is not on tour with the T-Birds, Jimi is a regular on the music scene there.

This CD showcases many of my personal favorites and I give this disc 4.89 of 5 on the stlbluesometer!

By Shannon

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