CD Reviews

Danny Bryant - 'Big: Live In Europe'

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 12, 2018    
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A 'Big' statement from a consistently impressive guitarist.

Those of a Blues persuasion reading this magazine have almost certainly come into contact with the music of Danny Bryant somewhere along the way. A professional guitar player since the age of just eighteen, Bryant has been releasing records as a solo artist since 2002's 'Watching You!' In his back catalogue of records were a couple of live releases, but 'Big' is different to its predecessors.

Putting together a set-list of thirteen songs spanning two discs, it's fair to expect some stretching out as Bryant dusts off tracks from his past efforts such as 'Prisoner Of The Blues' and 'Take Me Higher'. However, Bryant has added another dimension, one which inspired the title – he decided to arrange these songs to be performed by a nine-piece band, fleshing the sound out with keyboards, rhythm guitar and a four-piece horns section.

Unlike some examples I can think of, where a slew of additional instruments have been brought in resulting in a cacophonous mess, Bryant's masterstroke here is the balancing act he's achieved. For example, the popular 'Temperature Rising', which kicks off the album, subtly utilises the extra sounds, to the point where you don't even notice they are there at first, it just sounds good. As the song progresses the sound swells naturally and effectively.

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Whether it's on his impressive cover of Robert Johnson's 'Stop Breaking Down', or on his own excellent self-penned tracks like 'Blood Money', the additional instruments and new arrangements work particularly well, always keeping in touch with the original versions, while never overpowering Bryant's voice, or more importantly, his guitar playing. Recorded over three nights, the performances are tight and infused with a sense of fun. The sounds you hear are the sounds of an artist fulfilling a vision.

While it's unlikely to win Danny Bryant an army of new followers, what it will do is give him an extra dimension in what is becoming an increasingly crowded and prolific Blues scene. Much like how Joe Bonamassa has found ways to keep adding twists to what he's been doing, this live record is a 'Big' statement from a consistently impressive guitarist.

James Gaden

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