FFWD REW

Jeff Healey – Last Call

Stony Plain Records

Posthumous recordings are often maudlin ripoffs second-rate collections that are silly and sentimental. But every once in a while comes a work that is a true tribute to the artist. Last Call is one of the latter in every way. Jeff Healey who died of cancer in March 2008 made his name as a monster blues rock guitar slinger — likely as famous for his unorthodox lap style of playing as he was for his lack of sight. That’s unfortunate because as this stripped-down CD of 14 old-timey popular jazz standards shows he also had an enormous talent for spreading his love for music in general — jazz in particular. Listening to his raw and occasionally imperfect renditions of songs such as “Laura” or “Autumn in New York” speaks to his joy in playing them. He was a hell of a trumpet player and decent jazz guitar player as well but on some tracks you can tell he’s still searching for that perfect solo as his pick clicks on the fingerboard. He may be gone but the spirit lives on.

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