Digital albums

"Social Moments"

Frank E. Gee and Jimmy Meunier

The release of this material is a tribute to Jim Miller, an outstanding musician from Portland, Oregon, a bassist with a unique touch and unconventional approach to the instrument and the blues. As a bass player in the Portland blues community, Jim has contributed to more live sessions and recordings, and collaborated with more artists than is conceivable to mention here, but Bill Rhoades, Jim Mesi and Paul Delay first come to mind. His credentials even include a stint with the Nelson Riddle orchestra! Jim placed the music and the song first, an extremely
rare quality among contemporary musicians, and didn’t hesitate to play the most minimal, least demonstrative bass part if that’s what made the song work best. His wicked sense of humor never failed to come through in his playing; and while eminently literate in numerous music
genres, Jim never seemed to allow his imagination to be thwarted by conventions.

This album consists of tracks that Jim Miller and I recorded three years ago at Jim's long time friend Terry Amato's home studio in Lake Oswego, Oregon. It was Jim's idea that we cut a few of the tunes that we'd been playing live, for the purpose of arming ourselves with a quality demo that would help us book our little duo, "Frank E. Gee & Jimmy Meunier" (Jim was a devout francophile, and he got a kick out of the name I made up for him, “meunier” being the French word for “miller”). After a couple of sessions, Jim and I realized that we might very well end up with more than merely a demo, but possibly something good enough to release. We made a few more trips to Terry's place whenever our schedules permitted, and in no time we had enough
material to constitute a whole album. Unfortunately, life being what it is, time got away from us and the album was never released.

Jim's completely unexpected passing on December 23 came as a real shock and an utter blow to everyone in the Portland music community. I had just been in Portland playing with him a week earlier! Reaching for comfort in the face of this grievous news, I pulled out our CD and
listened to it for the first time in quite a while. I was deeply moved to hear again what we had created together. That was some good shit! Our approach to these blues standards struck me as vibrant, and if unorthodox, quite refreshing. The bottom line is that we always had a great
time playing together, and this seemed to come through in these recordings. Jim always
played exactly what I wanted to hear! While we began playing together as a duo (as opposed to a larger band) because of economical considerations, we discovered that the barebones approach of the “just-guitar-and-bass” format allowed us great freedom and spontaneity; I knew I could at any moment throw an unexpected change at him and he’d be right there, or yell "You got it,Jim!", and he would unabashedly launch into a ferocious, no holds barred solo with no other support than his own foot-tapping! We really had a ball!

The title "Social Moments" came from Jim in reference to one of the instrumentals. It becamean inside joke between us, the lameness and utter absurdity of the phrase always getting the two of us cracking up.

From one gig to the next, things were never quite the same --- I doubt that we ever played a song the same way twice! You never know exactly what‘s going to happen, it’s all about being in the moment, and letting spontaneity be the guide. That’s pretty much the rule we applied to these recordings, and we both felt that we had succeeded in capturing what “Frank E. Gee & Jimmy Meunier” was all about.

Although I will never be able to recreate what Jim and I had in “Frank E. Gee & Jimmy Meunier”, I am grateful to have crossed paths with this truly unique and original musician, genuine gem of the Portland music scene.

Thank you, Jim, for the friendship and the wild musical rides!

Franck Goldwasser
December 28, 2013
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Blues For Esther

Paris Slim

This is the first album by California blues artist Franck Goldwasser, formerly known as Paris Slim. The album was originally released in 1989 as a vinyl LP on the Belgian record label Blue Sting. It features some of the Bay Area's most prestigious players of the time, including members of the Robert Cray Band and the Etta James band. "Blues For Esther" was nominated in 1990 for a W.C. Handy award (now called the Blues Music Awards). Franck Goldwasser's first single for the Backtrack label, released in 1985, is included in this album.

Original liner notes by Lee Hildebrand:

While attending art school in Paris, Frank Goldwasser spent most or his time painting life-sized portraits of American bluesmen. Since his move to Oakland six years ago, he now devotes his energies to living and playing the blues.

Paris Slim, as Goldwasser is known professionally, has become a vital contributor to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Area's music scene. With his own band, as well as backing some of the genre's giants, he has emerged as a first-rate practitioner of the biting West Coast blues guitar style associated with such legends as T-Bone Walker, Lowell Fulson, Poe Wee Crayton and Lafayette “Thing” Thomas.

Born on January 6, 1960, Slim was inspired by the Beatles to take up guitar at age 15 and studied briefly with internationally known iingerpicking virtuoso Marcel Dadi. Slim then came across an album called "Natural Boogie" by Chicago bluesman Hound Dog Taylor. “That was it, ' he recalls. Slim’s father. a manufacturer of fine men's clothing may not have cared tor his son's new wardrobe - ’50’s vintage pin-striped suits - but was supportive of his new musical passion and even bought him a T-Bone Walker album. ln 1980. while Slim was in art school, Oakland bluesman Sonny Rhodes came through Paris. The two jammed together and Rhodes invited his friend to come to Oakland. After one visit, Slim returned to settle there permanently. He landed a job in Troyce Key's band at Eli's Mile High Club, then led the house band while Key took a nine-month break from performing. Among the blues singers Slim backed at Eli's were Rhodes, Jimmy McCracklin, Lowell Fulson, Percy Mayfield, Pee Wee Crayton and Big Mama Thornton. Stints as a sideman with Charlie Musselwhite, Sunnyland Slim, Mitch Woods. and McCracklin followed. For the past two and a half years, Slim has been leading the popular Blue Monday Party Band at Larry Blake's in Berkeley, having taken over tor Tim Kaihatsu when he lelt to join Robert Cray. Among the artists he has featured with the band are Elvin Bishop, Luther Tucker, Sugar Pie DeSanto, Norton Buffalo. Nick Gravenites, Linda Tillery. Mark Hummel, Cool Papa, Earl “Good Rockin'” Brown, Brenda Boykin and Ron Thompson.

Leading his own band, Slim has appeared at many other Bay Area Clubs, as well as at the 1986 San Francisco Blues Festival. His repertoire, consisting of many fine, yet
obscure tunes, is the most consistently interesting of any blues performer in the area.

For his debut album. Slim has pulled together a stellar cast of supporting musicians and selected some outstanding songs. Of special historical note is “Blue Shadows,” a number originally recorded by Lowell Fulson for the Swingtime label. Earl Brown, the stylistic link between Louis Jordan and Hank Crawlord, was the alto saxophonist on the Fulson session and appears here, his searing sound undiminished by the three decades between.

From the opening shuttle strains of Robert Nighthawk's “Someday” through the intense "Tribute to Lowell” (actually a reworking of Fulson’s classic instrumental, “Guitar Shuttle”) that closes Blues for Esther, Paris Slim's album olfers positive proof of why Soul Bag magazine editor Jacques Perin. on a recent trip to Oakland. called him “one
of the most accomplished and inspired guitarists on today's California scene.”

—Lee Hildebrand
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