Reviews

 

Acclaimed keyboardist Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne has released a new album titled Inspired by the Blues a tribute to musical legends and influences Ray Charles and Fats Domino. Wayne, a member of The Boogie Woogie Hall of Fame brings in help from guests Duke Robillard, Chicago harp ace Billy Branch and longtime B.B. King bass player Russell Jackson. Also helping out are Joey DiMarco on drums, Yuji Ihara on guitars, Dave Babcock on sax and Bob Tildesley on trumpet. The ivory tickler wrote eleven of the twelve tracks here and the disc features his distinct piano playing throughout the album. Keepers include “I Knew I’d Be Playing the Blues”, “Start Rockin'” a piano boogie blues number, the funky “How ‘Bout That”, “Jimmy and Johnny”, the sax and piano instrumental “Lake Country Boogie” and the horn driven swing blues of “An Old Brick Wall”. Other stand out tracks include “That Girl Needs Help”, “That Raggedy Shack” and Wayne’s homage to Fats Domino on “Mr. Blueberry Hill”. The lone cover and live bonus track is a cover of Charles’ “Georgia on My Mind” from a concert in Mexico. To find out more about Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne and his new album Inspired by the Blues visit.
Best of WNY.com Bob Silvestri

The blues reaches out in many directions with a variety if styles and genre’s. Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne has been playing his form of Boogie Woogie piano blues for decades. He has now issued his latest album Inspired By The Blues.

Wayne has assembled an all-star supporting cast including former B.B. King bassist Russell Jackson, harmonica player Billy Branch, and guitar player deluxe Duke Robillard.

His new album consists 11 new original tracks and a live cover of the old rhythm & Blues classic “Georgia On My Mind.”

Wayne is a stylish piano player who produces an infectious sound. He also adds a very personal tough with tributes to Fats Domino and Ray Charles; both strong influences in his musical life.

Despite the flourishes, Wayne has created a traditional album of blues. InspiredBy The Blues proves that suit zoot blues is always in style.
Cashbox – David Bowling

KENNY  “BLUES BOSS” WAYNE

Inspired by the Blues

The contemporary blues recording scene is highly guitar-centric, so it is a pleasure to have a keyboard man like Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne assert himself and step to the forground with a series of albums from Stony Plain Records.  Inspired by the Blues, his fourth offering from the label, finds him excelling as a composer of original material and paying homage to keyboard kings from the past that inspired him.

Harmonica great Billy Branch lends a hand on two tracks, the slow-rolling, auto-biographical boogie I Knew I’d Be Playing the Blues and that Girl Needs Help with it’s Muddy Waters-evoking groove.  They just don’t make harmonica players like Branch anymore, and his interplay with Wayne elevates both these tracks.  That Raggedy shack brings to mind Louis Jordan’s ebullient jump blues, providing an opportunity for saxophonist Dave Babcock to stretch out.  Wayne highlights his skills on organ and delivers a funky Billy Preston-style take on How ‘Bout That , an American Dream narrative salute to a grandfather who rose up from slavery.  Jimmy and Johnny is a jumping ballad that tells the tale of a love triange that allows Wayne to showcase his Chicago blues piano chops and give a nod to Floyd Dixon.  Wayne heads down to New Orleans and delivers the Huey “Piano” Smith-derived Start Rockin’.

The pianist and singer demonstrates his affinity for Ray Charles with the bouncy original I Like That Woman and a live version of Georgia On My Mind that was recorded with a local band when he was on tour in Mexico, a performance that highlights how emotive he can be as a singer.  His other direct homage is the original Mr. Blueberry Hill that plays tribute to Fats Domino by employing the hallmarks of his classic Imperial hits.  One of the most outstanding tracks on the album is the instrumental Lake Country Boogie, with it’s wailing saxophone and stunning boogie runs on the piano riding on top of a propulsive groove from bassist Russell Jackson and drummer Joey DiMarco – blues piano at it’s most inspiring!
Living Blues Magazine – Robert H. Cataloitti

KENNY “BLUES BOSS” WAYNE INSPIRED BY THE BLUES

While he was raised in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New Orleans, piano player Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne is not easily slotted as a West Coast or Crescent City bluesman. Instead, he lands more naturally in places like Chicago, Mississippi, Memphis or Kansas City with harmonica fueled shuffles, I Knew I’d Be Playing the Blues and That Girl Needs Help, upbeat piano and horn laden rockers, Start Rockin’ and Jimmy and Johnny, southern soul, how ‘Bout That, fleet-fingered piano boogie, Lake Country Boogie and jump blues that wouldn’t be out of place on a Roomful of Blues disc, An Old Brick Wall.  That said, he does feel the tug of New Orleans with his homage to Fats Domino, Mr. Blueberry Hill. On the live Ray Charles cut, Georgia on My Mind, he ditches the fast-paced keyboard work of many of the other cuts and focuses instead on a heartfelt vocal performance of that classic. Known primarily for his prowess on piano (he’s a member of the Boogie Woogie Hall of Fame amongst other honors) he’s also a witty lyricist as he extols the virtues of a woman who meets his standards including not talking when she chews her food, I Like That Woman, expresses his confusion about his standing with his woman, Make Up Your Mind, and how his conversations with her lead him nowhere, An Old Brick Wall.  Joined here by an all-star cast including Russell Jackson on bass, Joey DiMarco on drums, Yuji lhara and Duke Robillard on guitar, Dave Babcock on sax, Bob Tldesley on trumpet and Billy Branch on harmonica, he has all the instrumental fire-power he needs to lay down the diverse material included here. Michigan Blues Society Mark Smith

Kenny 'Blues Boss' WayneKenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne

 

 

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COVER STORY NANAIMO AFRICAN HERITAGE SOCIETY
FEB 2019
(NAHS)