May 2007

Jimmy McIntosh - Orleans to London
Arizona Club Records AZC-01
Format: CD
Released: 2007

by Shannon Holliday

Musical Performance ***
Recording Quality ****
Overall Enjoyment ***

After backing up other musicians and contributing to a variety of projects during his 25-year career, guitarist Jimmy McIntosh has finally taken the artistic initiative to release his first solo album, Orleans to London. After playing the support role for so many others, McIntosh revels in stacking his deck thick with only the finest contributing musicians, calling on Orleans' own Neville Brothers to London's Ron Wood, as well as an uncredited guest appearance by guitar legend Jeff Beck.

The opening guitar licks on "Biker Babe" have amazing presence, deep and raunchy, while Ivan Neville's B-3 organ fills in the melody and swarms with resonance. "G-Spot" is a funky, New Orleans-style slow groove that takes the time to dig in deep and features some slick guitar work from Jeff Beck, aka "Hot Rod." McIntosh's songs are a varied blend of jazz, rockin' blues, and funk. Strong influence is felt from Pat Metheny, John Scofield and B.B. King. The only two tracks on the album that are not originals are the Stones' tune "Slave" and the ten-minute Hendrix testimonial "Third Stone from the Sun," both of which allow McIntosh and his entourage to step up and wail.

Though this album is a must for guitar geeks, I cannot avoid mentioning two debasing flaws. It was unfortunate to include the song "It Was A Virus," which tells the story of a love gone wrong by using clichéd references to a computer virus. The set is also lacking in creative ingenuity. While it is obvious that McIntosh is an experienced and gifted guitarist, he tends to play it safe and rarely ventures into uncharted territory.