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Event Review: Doug Wamble At The Marblehead Jazz Festival
July 23, 2005
By Matthew S. Robinson
(more articles from this author)
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Event: Doug Wamble At The Marblehead Jazz Festival
When: July 23, 2005
Genre: Jazz
Label: Rounder Records
Venue: Marblehead jazz Festival
Download: “The Bear and the Toad”
The Bear and the Toad

"We like to play lots of kinds of music - so buckle up!"

Such was the introduction to one of the biggest rising stars on the jazz scene today. And it was appropriate, as Doug Wamble and his talented trio (pianist Roy Dunlap, bassist Jeff Hanley, and drummer Peter Miles) demonstrated why they were the first non-Marsalis artist to be signed to Marsalis Music ( and why Gene Arnould was so keen to add them to the 2005 Marblehead jazz Festival.

From Cole Porter and Hoagy Carmichael to Peter Gabriel and Stevie Wonder to a few original compositions by himself and his college friends-turned-bandmates, Wamble welded his mighty Gretsch hollow body through a wide variety of genres, all washed with a tasty recipe of southern Blues and Gospel that felt right at home in the converted church setting. Though a bit preachy, the liberally syncopated poem "If I Live to See the Day" allowed Wamble’s band plenty of time to take their licks.

Throughout the cool seaside night, Miles’ tight and snappy (thought at times overpowering) skin and cymbal work and Hanley’s well-considered pluckings built solid foundations for Wamble and Dunlap’s melodic explorations. Gabriel’s "Washing of the Water" was a Jarrett-inspired effort that revealed years of dedicated reworking, and Wamble’s version of Carmichael’s "Stardust" provided two new interpretations of the oft-covered classic: one with his rich and open guitar work and the other with his honeyed vocals. "The Place from Whence I Came" was a contemporary Gospel-Rock number that previewed Mose Allison’s return to Marblehead August 20.

Among the group efforts in which Wamble’s mates were often allowed to shine brighter than their friendly front man, Wamble took a few solos, including a folky rendition of "Hard Times," a show-closing rollick through the swampy original "The Bear and the Toad," and the encore slide through "His Eye is On the Sparrow," which made it obvious that Wamble sings because he is happy and made the audience even more happy to have heard it.

For more information and to contact the author, click on the author’s name at the top of the page.

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