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Ed Palermo & Rob Paparozzi: Electric Butter

Ed Palermo & Rob Paparozzi's CD Electric Butter

Electric Butter is a new album from saxophonist, composer/arranger, and big band leader Ed Palermo with powerhouse singer and harmonica master Rob Paparozzi which also features guitarist Jimmy Vivino (nowadays the bandleader for Conan O'Brien's late-nite show).

The album is a tribute to the electrifying mid-60's blues/rock of Paul Butterfield and Mike Bloomfield.  Palermo and Paparozzi have been playing concerts of the Butter/Bloom groups' songs — and working on this album -- since the previous millennium.

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band was the first blues album I'd ever bought.  I'd never much listened to the blues before.   I was a full-tilt jazz guy, and Butterfield's band sounded "jazzy" to me.  The rip-snorting kick-off, "Born In Chicago."  The so-sweet-it's-like-a-love-song, "Blues with a Feeling."  The rolling and rumbling of Butterfield's sax-like harmonica.  The stings, spaces, and almost sitar-sounding whirls of Mike Bloomfield's guitar.  

I immediately bought Butter's second album, East-West.   "Walkin' Blues" sounding more like struttin' blues.  "Never Say No" with Elvin Bishop sounding drunk on love.  That 13-minute title jam — five years before the Allmans at Fillmore East.
 
When horns became popular — BS&T, Chicago, et al — I always felt Butterfield's horns were cooler and sexier.  Gene Dinwiddie.  David Sanborn.  "One More Heartache," an actually  happy heartbreak.  "Last Hope's Gone," as if blues a la Stravinsky.
 
Mike Bloomfield became a sensation with Butter's band, even moreso with the Electric Flag, the band Bloomfield fronted with drummer and singer Buddy Miles.    A Long Time Comin' was the Flag's bedazzling first album.  With a psychedelic album cover.  Smoldering jazz.  Thundering blues.  If someone asked me what I'd been doing, I'd channel Buddy Miles and wail "I just got in from Texas, babe!"  
 
    Bloomfield's guitar was beyond Hendrixian.  
 
    Bloomfield's guitar was downright Herculean!  
     
Half a lifetime later, someone invited me to a disco.  Decade, it was called.  Across the street from Dangerfield's.  (Rodney was still around, getting no respect.)   Some cats were celebrating Butterfield and Bloomfield.   I hadn't heard their music or even heard their names for too many decades.   I didn't know saxophonist Ed Palermo or harmonicat Rob Paparozzi or guitarist Jimmy Vivino, but I knew that music.  And they became that music!    
 
As indeed they do — finally! -- on Electric Butter.
 
As he does when he plays Frank Zappa's music, Ed Palermo's band doesn't merely retrospect the music he loves.  He breathes a new life into the music he loves.
 
When they play the first classic, "Walkin' Blues," there's a moment in Rob's solo when his harp curls up and down the scale like a hip Slinky — pure Butter!  
 
And even if you haven't heard Butter, Bloom, and the Flag for an eon,  Ed, Rob, Jimmy, and all these cats who loved them will awaken them deep in your cells.  
 
And you'll be dancing …
 
  - Michael Bourne, WBGO Blues Hour host

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