Guitarist and composer Scott Sawyer has worked for over 30 years with artists like Nnenna Freelon, Charlie Byrd, Jack Wilkens, David Murray and Jon Lucian, to name a few. On Go There he is ably joined by an all-star cast. Included in the group are organist and flute player Kofi Burbridge (late of the Derek Trucks Band), drummer Kenny Soule (who has worked with the band Nantucket), electric bassist Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers Band and the Aquarium Rescue Unit), acoustic bassist Ron Brendle (Mose Allison and Frank Kimbrough) and free-lance recording artist and percussionist Chris Garges (who has worked with the country band The Moody Brothers).
A better moniker for this excellent recording would be "The Scott Sawyer Blues Band," for it is the spirit of the blues that influences and percolates throughout. Some of the tunes are overtly blues derived. "Slow Dance," for example, is intentionally in the slow-blues-drag style. With a stripped down unit of just guitar, bass and drums, with flute only appearing during the solo section, everyone leaves their six-shooters at home and plays in support of a truly poignant feeling. Kofi, who demonstrates a real feel for nuance and shades of color when on organ, proves to be a great flutist during his solo and trading licks sections. He’s so soulful he could make a specter cry.
The up-tempo "AR" rocks on. With a groove that is locked in the pocket, Sawyer turns in his most inspired solo of the recording. It’s not just the fact he has technique to burn, it’s how he uses that technique in tandem with Burbridge to get to the song’s heart in as direct a manner as possible. Kofi’s great organ solo, he lays down some lines that can only be described as righteous, follows the two string players' work, before Sawyer re-enters to drive the piece home.
The ensemble’s take on George Harrison’s "Taxman" demonstrates just how much more music there is still to be mined from The Beatles catalog and "Slow Down, Freight Train" picks right up where "Slow Dance" left off, but this time it’s Sawyer who gets down and dirty. Playing flatted thirds and sevenths may be the vehicle, but it’s in the delivery where artists are defined. Holding back behind the beat just enough to capture the right emotion, Sawyer demonstrates a real feel for statement and anti-statement. This disc is highly recommended for all blues aficionados.