Review From The Boston Blues Society
The Fernandina Beach High Blues In The Schools Band
Live at The2012 Amelia Island Blues Festival
By Lady K
So, a little background: Roger “Hurricane” Wilson is a well-established, well-known bluesman out of Georgia (the Atlanta area), and when he’s not playing out and recording, he’s evidently hanging around schools, teaching students about the blues. One of Roger’s most recent endeavors was with the Fernandina Beach (Florida) High School Jazz Band; showing them what the blues is all about. Ultimately, from the Jazz Band, the Fernandina Beach High Blues in the Schools Band was born, and those high school kids had an opportunity to dazzle attendees at the 2012 Amelia Island Blues Festival, teaming up with Hurricane for a few tunes.
The players included lots of brass: sax players Bryson Fleming (alto) and Sam Harris and Tristan Duncan (tenor). Trumpets: Andrew Benudiz, Luke Baine, Prince Wilson and Greg Eberwine. Trombones: Tom Taylor, Cody Chaplin, Tessa Pirkola and Brian Camp. Featured on drums were Zack Curry, Keith Davidson and Adrian Walker. And then there were a few other players: Cody Norton (guitar); Brian Stidham (bass); Jillian Leavy Steele (piano). The Director of the Fernandina Beach High School Band, Johnny Robinson, was also involved in this endeavor. (And lest I forget, Roger ‘Hurricane’ Wilson provided lead guitar and vocals, and the enthusiasm to get this project on stage.)
Attendees of the 2012 Amelia Island Blues Festival heard the Blues in the Schools Band and Roger Wilson perform 3 yummy blues tunes: “A Nasty Bit of Blues” (Doug Beach); a very bluesy version of Cab Calloway’s “Minnie the Moocher”; and Peter Chatman’s “Every Day I Have the Blues”. There’s a jazzy element to the tunes, which isn’t surprising, considering all the brass that was up there on that festival stage, but the music is the blues, and really exciting blues.
Without seeing the CD cover, the listener would have absolutely no way of knowing that the musicians, except for Hurricane, are members of a high school band.
Those are the only 3 tracks on this CD, ensuring that the recording was about the kids and the blues; not about him. What an amazing thrill for the students and the audience, and Hurricane, for getting it all done, and for listeners, hearing potential bluesmen come of age!!!!