For the famous jazz big band leader, arranger, composer and saxophonist Ed Palermo, Edgar Winter was not just an introductory jazz drug. For a youngster who grew up on the shores of New Jersey, the music of the Texan multi-instrumental star was a key to growing the spirit that unlocked the overlapping realms of blues, jazz and rock. There is a straight line between Palermo’s teenage immersion in Winter’s music and the emergence decades later of his big band, which gained international fame for its authentically distorted arrangements of Frank Zappa’s music. Palermo has long included winter material in the band’s extensive book, but their new album on Sky Cat Records, I have news for you: the music of Edgar Winter, is his first dedicated to his early inspiration. Scheduled for release on October 15, 2021, the album is almost indecently fun, as if someone crossed the New Testament book Count Basie Orchestra with an R&B review designed by Zappa.
With his adventurous spirit and talented big band, Palermo is ideally placed to celebrate a singular artist who, Winter himself acknowledges, “is primarily considered a rocker,” known for his searing virtuosos like “Frankenstein,” a instrumental tune that was “almost a forerunner of heavy metal and fusion,” said Winter. “But I also love jazz and classical and if there’s one common thread running through all of my music, it’s the blues.”
Palermo was an aspiring saxophonist with little interest in jazz when he experienced a revelation while listening to the early albums of Beaumont, the Texas blues guitarist Johnny Winter, which featured his younger brother Edgar on keyboards, at the vocals and especially the alto saxophone. “The saxophone playing really blew me away,” says Palermo. “He’s playing the deadliest, fast and smooth bebop. I knew then that I wanted to play like this. My main influences to date are Cannonball, Phil Woods and Edgar Winter, as well as David Sanborn.
The album opens with a boogie explosion, “I Hate Everybody”, a song from Johnny Winter’s 1969 album. Second winter. The track features the stellar work of rock guitarist Jimmy Leahey and the moving voice of Carlos Murguía, a singer known for his work with an array of Latin music superstars. On “Tobacco Road,” a standout track from Edgar’s 1970 debut album Entrance, Palermo features guitar legend Robben Ford and the great Kimberly Davis, whose outstanding performances throughout the project reveal many facets of the singer from longtime Niles Rodgers pioneer disco / rock. Chic group.
“The hardest part of this album was figuring out who was going to sing,” Palermo said. “At the entrance, Edgar’s singing is breathtaking. Me and Steve Jankowski realized that we needed singers who could make the songs their own. Kim Davis is one of my favorites, and she did it.
Release date: October 15, 2021
Format: CD / Digital Download
Genre: Blues Big Band, Jazz Big Band, Jazz-Rock / R&B
Label: Sky Cat Records
Catalog No .: SC211001
I have news for you: the music of Edgar Winter List of tracks:
1. I hate everyone (Johnny Winter) 2:10
2. Tobacco Route (John D. Loudermilk) 4:24
3. Peace Pipe (Edgar Winter) 5:30
4. All Out (Edgar Winter) 3:16
5. A different game 4:01
6. Die to live (Edgar Winter) 3:56
7. Jump right 4:03
8. Entrance 3:46
9. Where have you been 2:39
10. The Ascension to Fall 3:35
11. Fire and ice 7:02
12. Hang up 3:40
13. Back in the Blues (Edgar Winter) 2:27
14. Start of school 2:30
15. You are my sun (Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell) 1:52
16. I have news for you (Roy Alfred) 3:46
All songs written by Edgar and Johnny Winter, unless otherwise noted.