Guy King – Guitar, voice
George Fludas – Drums
Jake Vinsel – Bass
Amr Marcin Fahmy – Keyboards
Marques Carroll – Trumpet
Christopher Brian Neal – Tenor sax
Brent Griffin Jr. – Baritone sax
Sarah Marie Young – Voice
Kiara Shackelford – Voice
Jihan Murray-Smith – Voice
Chicago-based guitarist and singer Guy King has forged a unique, blues-drenched sound that is an amalgam of jazzy spontaneity, soulful passion and R&B sensuality. On his forth release—his first for Delmark Records—
Truth, King expands further on motifs explored on his previous outputs, making it his most accomplished disc yet.
The slow-simmering title track for instance is marked by his sparse, compelling, bending strings and evocative vocals. The backing chorus of horns and female voices add another delightful layer to the late-night club ambience.
The stirring “Happiness” on the other hand has a “popish” effervescence and loose, swaying rhythm. The energetic beats of the band buoy King’s duet with vocalist Sarah Marie Young as the saxophones and brass punctuate the charming song. King’s muscular solo bisects the ensemble performance.
His mastery of the guitar makes his instrumental turns in the spotlight quite engaging, even though his embellishments stay close to the melody. This is heard best on such tunes as the funky “Cookin’ in Style” and the hard-swinging “Bad Case of Love.” The former features trumpeter Marques Carroll in a short, but memorable improvisation, and the latter, baritone saxophonist Brent Griffin Jr. is in a brief and rousing one.
King forms the core of the riotous and earthy “See Saw” with his wailing tones and thick chords, while his shouting, powerful singing gives the gritty “Hey Now” its indigo-hued fervor. Pianist Amr Marcin Fahmy’s fiery keyboard and drummer George Fludas’ thunderous kit drive the second piece.
King continues to express his fascination for early forms of American music and jazz with his successive releases. Instead of merely mimicking masters of these genres by “faithfully” interpreting their hits and cloning their styles, he blends his various influences into a fresh and captivating artistic expression. His elegant groove and thrilling originals and covers in Truth are simultaneously modern and charismatically nostalgic, making this and all his records highly enjoyable.