Al Basile got his start as the first trumpet player in “Roomful of Blues” when it was formed by Duke Robillard in 1973. Basile’s solo debut “Down on Providence Plantation” was produced by Robillard in 1998. Since then, each of Basile’s studio recordings were produced by Robillard. Between 2010 and 2018 Basile received eight Blues Music Award nominations; seven times for Best Instrumentalist – Horn. In 2017 his album “Mid-Century Modern” received a BMA nomination as “Contemporary Blues Album of the Year”.
Basile’s songs have been recorded by Ruth Brown, Johnny Rawls and the Knickerbocker All Stars. As a poet he has authored two books, published in journals, and won prizes. Basile’s 2018 album “Me and The Originator” combined his music, with his poetry. Last year’s album was “B’s Hot House”.
This is Basile’s seventeenth studio recording. On this new album, singer, songwriter and cornetist Basile also assumes the role of producer. On “Last Hand” Basile tells the story of a May/December romance that ends way too soon. Basile, vocals and cornet; is joined by Bruce Bears, keyboards, Brad Hallen, bass; and Mark Teixeira, drums. The album was engineered, recorded and mixed by Jack Gauthier at his Lakewest Studios in West Greenwich, Rhode Island.
“For my first production effort, I wanted to keep it relatively simple…so it’s piano and organ, bass, drums and vocals. I play only two short horn solos. The story is about an older man who meets a younger woman but can’t believe that she’s attracted to him. Eventually, he overcomes his mistrust, and they have an up and down relationship. The songs are stylistically…like my other recent stuff…the arrangements just don’t have guitar parts or horns.” The results are a late-night, smoky lounge, after-hours piano groove.
On the opening track “It Ain’t Broke” Basile sings “If you need a fixer, I’m your guy…If I can’t fix it, it ain’t broke”. Other highlights include “Don’t Toy With Me”; “I Could Get Used To This”, and “Don’t” featuring Basile with a cornet solo. He states “I ran a radio theater at Brown University… where I wrote, directed, produced and acted in radio drama”. Plans are to make “Last Hand” a musical audio drama, and work has already begun on the project.
My own plans are much the same. Me, my woman, some fine red wine, and this album. Thank you Al Basile.