Douglas Avery seems to be, indeed, a man of mystery. Other than finding a zillion web sites promoting his award-winning photography and accomplishments, finding something related to Doug’s playing and performing left me at a standstill. The CD came at me like a bolt of lightning as I have been inundated with so many releases from blues bands and solo artists both here in the United States, and across the pond, so to speak.
The floodgates have triumphantly opened and everyone has been rushing to release as much new product as humanly possible - some folks have released multiple recordings in 2022! The blues scene has become incredibly animated since the pandemic has broken. Douglas Avery's Take My Rider is another welcome release.
Take some of the best West Coast musicians the scene has to offer, create some impressive originals and a few well-chosen covers; mix in the influences of stalwarts like Miles Davis, Johnny Otis, Slim Harpo, Big Joe Turner, Little Walter, B. B. King, and Little Walter; and a flourish of Ian Anderson-influenced flute; and shake things up with some West Coast funk, barrel house piano, delta boogie, horn-driven shuffles, and even a sentimental piano ballad - these are the exciting ingredients all pulled together for Take My Rider.
In the early 1970's Avery befriended the Doors legendary guitarist Robby Krieger, jamming regularly with the guitar legend at house parties. Robbie eventually asked Douglas to join his group on stage, playing many Doors classics. He continues to perform with Robbie at special events.
Douglas has studied with some of the leading U.S. harp players including R. J. Mischo, Dennis Gruenling, as well as renowned instructor Jon Gindick. He has become a regular at Southern California jam sessions, enjoying friendships with the likes of Kim Wilson, Honey and Rod Piazza, and bassist / producer Ralph Carter, to name just a few on a very long list.
In 2019 Avery finally got the chance to record some of his own musical creations, recruiting Ralph Carter and drummer Johnny Morgan for a recording session at the producer / bassists ventura, California studio. Tracks for Take My Rider were recorded at Ralphs Garage, Ventura, California from 2019 - 2022 with the horns recorded at Havis House Recordings in the U.K.
Extensive credits inside the CD detail all of the personnel involved in this project, a list of impressive West Coast players who have decades of experience on stages world-wide and in the studio.
Take My Rider is an impressive debut from a musician making a uniquely original name for himself. Douglas Avery is totally authentic, and a real deal harp player with so much to offer. Can't wait to see what Doug serves up for the future.
Label: GreenWave Music
Produced, engineered, and mixed by: Ralph Carter
Publicity and Promotion: Blind Raccoon
Artist Website: douglasaverymusic.com
Reviewed by John Muller.