Getting down, jamming it up, and having a real good time. That’s what Sapphire Blue is all about.
Carlton does what he does best communicates with his audience in a relaxed, old-fashioned blues session, just being himself.
Carlton states, "There are some sophisticated harmonies in these compositions."
That’s putting it lightly. Carlton treads across the strings of his guitar in intricate, magical moves, catching all the excitement his music was designed for.
Choosing the perfect band was a challenge. Carlton waited until the right guys were available at the same time, then gathered them into the Sound Kitchen in Nashville.
Drummer, Billy Kilson has "that high degree of musicianship, even when he plays the simplest thing, it’s so meaningful," says Carlton.
Introducing his band:"On bass, Michael Rhodes, who is a deep, deep groove guy; Matt Rollings, the best young keyboard player I’ve ever heard; Reese Wynans on the B-3 whose spirit cannot be denied and soulful sax player Mark Douthit."
The razor sharp horn arrangement of Jim Horn was added two weeks later, making this one of the hottest blues albums of the year.
Forever known for his unbelievable performance on Steely Dan’s Kid Charlemagne, and his slinky, sexy strumming with Fourplay, Carlton has been in the lead with his imaginative strolls on his guitar, enticing young wanna-be’s to pick up the instrument.
This album is different. Carlton’s older now, relaxed, in his element. He can pick and choose who he plays with and who he plays for. There’s always a line at the door when he performs.
Sapphire Blue shows Reese Wynan’s expertise on the B-3 in a slow, wandering, skillful blues and Carlton slowly rolls each note from his guitar. Kilson’s drums keep a mean, edgy beat.
Steve Patrick blows a hot trump during A Pair of Kings, a steamy portrait of the blues.
Slightly Dirty offers a rounded display of mellow organ, Carlton’s tweaking and stroking.
Terry McMillan blows a deep groove on the harmonica during Take Me Down.
Carlton’s playing as a standout, one of a kind natural, cannot be duplicated, on par with the legendary Chet Atkins.