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Danny Embrey | Dues Blues

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Jazz: Mainstream Jazz Brazilian: Samba Moods: Type: Instrumental
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Dues Blues

by Danny Embrey

Amazing jazz guitar from Kansas City as recorded in LA in 1988 and just now remastered and released.
Genre: Jazz: Mainstream Jazz
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Everything I Love
4:40 $0.99
2. Trane Tracks
4:24 $0.99
3. November
5:06 $0.99
4. The Duke
5:18 $0.99
5. Dues Blues
4:28 $0.99
6. Caravelas
5:15 $0.99
7. Funkallero
5:14 $0.99
8. Daabah
5:47 $0.99
9. Leonard
3:42 $0.99
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Album Notes
A major jazz guitarist since the 1970s, Danny Embrey has appeared in a countless number of settings through the years but surprisingly Dues Blues has thus far been his only album as a leader. It was recorded in 1988, released privately, sold on the bandstand, and largely forgotten after all of the copies were purchased. Now, thanks to Green Lady Radio and Jazz Daddy Records, this superior obscurity is available again.

Danny Embrey is still very much with us and an important part of the Kansas City jazz scene where he was born and grew up. He remembers, “My brother, who is ten years older than I am, played jazz at the house. He was a part-time musician who played organ and drums. I loved his Wes Montgomery records which made a big impact on me along with some Thelonious Monk and Dave Brubeck albums.” Danny’s first instrument was the drums. “Both of my brothers and I played drums, much to the chagrin of my mother since we lived in an apartment building. When the Beatles came out in 1964, everyone wanted to play guitar including me, so I switched.”

In 1978, Danny moved to Los Angeles. “I felt that I had reached the height of success in Kansas City, playing regularly with my trio and working seven nights a week for two years. Rod Fleeman and I were going to move to New York together and we were saving our money, but Rod went on the road with a fusion band. Since I didn’t know anyone in New York but I knew Gary Foster in Los Angeles who often sat in with my trio when he was in Kansas City, I moved to L.A. Gary helped me immeasurably while I was out there.” Danny had the opportunity to play with such classic musicians as Shelly Manne, Monty Budwig, Lou Levy, Gene Harris, Sam Most, Bob Brookmeyer, and Conte Candoli. When Sergio Mendes needed a guitar player, Danny was recommended and he spent seven years (1980-87) with Mendes. “While it was mostly pop music, Sergio was a jazz and Brazilian music type of guy. It was a fun experience. We toured three or four months a year, and I was on the scene in Los Angeles the rest of the time.” In 1981, he recorded his first jazz album with Clare Fischer’s Salsa Picante band.

In 1990, Danny and his family decided to move back to Kansas City. Soon he had met Karrin Allyson, beginning a long association that found him touring the world with the singer and being featured on many of her recordings. That period ended in 2005 when he decided to get off the road. “I just got tired of traveling all of the time. Since then I have stayed busy in Kansas City. I’m happy staying out of airports and airplanes!” When he returned home, Danny found that the Kansas City jazz scene was having a renaissance. “It is one of the best scenes around these days. There are a lot of gigs and clubs along with many inspiring players. There are around eight places here where musicians can really stretch out and play jazz, plus many restaurants where one plays quieter music for diners. There is plenty of work.”

Back in 1988 when he recorded Dues Blues, Danny Embrey was a 36-year old guitarist who had recently moved to Seattle. “I missed all of my friends who I used to play with in L.A. so I decided to go back down there and put together a recording. People were always asking me if I had a CD so it was time.” Danny had worked often with drummer Steve Houghton (even appearing on his Sea Breeze record called The Steve Houghton Album) and bassist Bob Bowman so he wanted to use them. “I also wanted a piano player so I could be like the horn player on the album rather than it being a guitar trio. I knew John Beasley from us both having playing with Sergio Mendes. He could not make the second date so Steve Houghton recommended Dave Loeb who I had never played with before but worked out very well. Unfortunately it has been so long that I don’t remember which piano player appeared on what tune.”

Each of the four sidemen has had impressive careers. Bob Bowman worked with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, the Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin Big Band in Los Angeles, Carmen McRae, Freddie Hubbard, and Karrin Allyson before settling in Kansas City. Drummer Steve Houghton was a member of the Woody Herman Orchestra when he was 20 and his endless list of credits include Hubbard, Gary Burton, Billy Childs, Bobby Hutcherson, Arturo Sandoval, and Joe Henderson. He currently teaches at Indiana University. John Beasley toured with Sergio Mendes and Miles Davis, has written for many television shows and films, and leads his own groups including his big band MONK’estra. He has also worked behind the scenes on many projects, most notably International Jazz Day. David Loeb, who was a studio musician in Los Angeles and appeared with many of the who’s who of jazz, is now the director of Jazz Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Dues Blues came together quickly after just one short rehearsal. The music was recorded direct to two track without overdubbing or editing, and nearly all of the songs were completed after two takes. With players of this caliber, that is not too surprising, and the results still sound rewarding decades later.

These days Danny Embrey can be heard in many settings in Kansas City including the Brazilian jazz group The Sons Of Brazil (which has been together for 25 years), a five-guitar quintet called Enormous Guitar, Guitar Elation (a two-guitar organ quartet), work with singers, and solo guitar performances.

“For the future I would like to concentrate more on my own music since I’ve been a sideman forever. I’m very happy that my early album is coming out again. I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve had a great musical life, have played professionally for 47 years, and have never had to do anything else.”

Liner notes by Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian and author of 11 books including The Great Jazz Guitarists, The Jazz Singers, and Jazz On Record 1917-76.



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