Jose Ramirez : Major League Blues Review
Jose Ramirez is one of Latin America’s most popular blues guitarists and vocalists. He has played with some of the biggest names in the blues industry, including Buddy Guy, Anson Funderburgh, Janiva Magness, Mark Hummel, and Bryan Lee. Ramirez recently signed with the world-famous blues label Delmark Records, based in the blues-rich city of Chicago. This makes him the first-ever Latin-American to sign with the renowned record company. In addition, Ramirez has teamed up with guest guitarist Jimmy Johnson for an impressive romp through blues land for his second studio album. The album is called Major League Blues.
Jimmy Johnson and bassist Bob Stroger make guest appearances on the title cut, a Ramirez original. A medium shuffle blues feel supports the players through the standard blues form. Drummer Willie “The Touch” Hayes and Roosevelt Purifoy on B3 round out the rhythm section. Of course, the feel is terrific as Ramirez sings with authentic style and emotion. Ramirez takes the first guitar solo; his tone and touch pay tribute to Johnson, a fact one can easily hear when Johnson takes his solo. Johnson sounds fantastic as ever, and it is excellent to listen to him in any setting.
Ramirez combines both original and blues standards; Eddie Taylor’s “Bad Boy” is one of the standout standards. Here Ramirez shares the guitar spotlight with guitarist Billy Flynn. Ramirez digs into the shuffle feel as he sings the melody. His tone is clear; he has plenty of heart though his tone is cleaner than most blues singers; though it is satisfying all the same. Ramirez announces each soloist, both Billy, and Jimmy, so you know who is soloing at any given moment, which is a great additive. This song shows Ramirez is entirely at home in the standard blues repertoire.
Major League Blues hits all the targets of a great blues album, excellent guitar playing, angst-filled singing, a deep groove, strong originals and creative arrangements of some standards, and an incredible cast of musicians to sound out all the spaces. Ramirez is the real deal, and it will be worth your time to get to know him better; and Major League Blues is a great start.
Major League Blues
March 18, 2022