Billy Price – Person Of Interest (ENG review)

Little Village – street date August 2nd 2024
Soul Jazz
Billy Price – Person Of Interest

The indomitable Billy Price is back with a 13-track album that radiates the sunny vibes of California and takes us back to the soulful ambiance of the 80s when certain West Coast radio stations oscillated between FM rock and blues/soul like this. It must be said that this production is particularly brilliant, and a certain Joe Bonamassa features as a guest. This is exactly the kind of album you’ll want to listen to with one arm casually resting on the car door and the other on the steering wheel as you cruise along the white sandy beaches in your convertible.

As you know, at Bayou Blue Radio we rarely broadcast blues due to our format, but we occasionally accept albums like this one, close to African American music, respecting its codes and sources. It’s been years since I’ve had a Billy Price album in hand, and I’m not disappointed. Indeed, I find Billy’s voice much deeper and more poised, captivating with the arrangements of this album and the sincere quality of the musicians, with a particular affection for the brass section. Without further ado, let me introduce these wonderful artists: Bass – Larry Fulcher, James Fulch, and Reggie McBride, Guitar – Josh Sklair and Shane Theriot, Lead Guitar – Joe Bonamassa, Keyboards – Jim Pugh, Drums – Tony Braunagel, Tenor and Baritone Saxophone – Ron Dziubla, Tenor Solo – Eric Spaulding, Trumpet – Mark Pender, and Percussion – Lenny Castro. The backing vocals are provided by Maxayn Lewis, Fred White, and Will Weaton.

Quite frankly, if you’ve enjoyed Billy Price’s albums in the past, this one is a vintage delight, to be savored like an exceptional wine without moderation. The new recording, produced by Grammy-winning producer and drummer Tony Braunagel, features 13 new songs co-written by Price. Braunagel oversaw the recording of the tracks at Ultratone Studios in Studio City, California, in October 2023.

“During the pandemic,” says Price, “I spent time writing songs with my band’s keyboardist, Jim Britton. I also wrote with my friend Fred Chapellier, an excellent French guitarist, and with the team of Jon Tiven and Sally Young from Nashville. Tony worked with me to bring the best of these songs to life.”

This is certainly the most personal album this artist has produced, both in terms of lyrics and music, with great sincerity and authenticity. These thirteen tracks wonderfully serve as an impressive calling card for upcoming shows. All the musicians seem charmed, even Bonamassa, who usually overdoes it, fits perfectly here, beautifully supporting Billy Price’s project.

Jazz influences are omnipresent in the arrangements, which is not surprising for someone like Billy Price, nurtured by a rich culture. Be patient until August 2nd, and believe me, you will be rewarded. This album is “indispensable,” and while it is not a jazz album, it fully deserves the title due to the quality of the works present on this album and the artistic treatment.

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move and ABS magazine
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, June 10th 2024

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