Las Vegas Guitarist Goes Toe-To-Toe With Six-String Stars on Second Album John Scofield, Mike Stern, Ronnie Wood appear as special guests on Jimmy McIntosh and...
As a follow up to 2006‘s New Orleans to London, guitarist Jimmy McIntosh once again finds himself in illustrious company on Jimmy McIntosh and...
This collection of funk, rock, jazz and blues originals showcases McIntosh’s considerable six-string prowess and features the Michigan native exchanging incendiary licks with his personal guitar heroes John Scofield , Mike Stern and the Rolling Stones’ Ronnie Wood. The solid backbeats are supported by Toss Panos (drummer of choice for guitarists Robben Ford and Mike Landau), bassists Dan Lutz, John Humphrey and Keith Hubacher and New Orleans keyboardist Ivan Neville (of The Neville Brothers, Keith Richards’ X-Pensive Winos and Dumpstaphunk). This stellar outing was definitely a labor of love for McIntosh.
“My bread and butter gig for the past several years has been playing shows. I worked on ‘Mamma Mia’ for five years and now I’m playing ‘Jersey Boys,’ so it’s nice to have that steady paycheck coming in, which allows me to do my own projects every now and then,”” says guitarist Jimmy McIntosh. McIntosh is also a longstanding member of the Lon Bronson All-Star Band that recorded Doc Goes Vegas with Tower of Power members Dave Garibaldi on drums, Rocco Prestia on bass, Doc Kupka on bari sax, Tom Politzer on tenor sax and Larry Braggs on vocals. In addition, McIntosh has an ongoing trio with drummer Pepe Jimenez (of Santana) and bassist Keith Hubacher.
For Jimmy McIntosh and..., McIntosh recruited Scofield and Stern from his home base, Las Vegas. “I got to know John and Mike about 12 years ago when there was a Blue Note jazz club in Las Vegas and became pretty good friends with both of them. The Vegas Blue Note was short-lived, but I was there almost every night for the duration of their gigs.
I’ve jammed with Mike several times and asked him, ‘If I make another record, will you play on it?’ And he was up for it. Toss Panos, John Humphrey and I went into Toss’s North Hollywood studio with Mike when he was in Los Angeles playing with his band at Catalina’s. Mike’s playing on this album is just brilliant. Then John happened to come through town with Phil Lesh & Friends just a few months ago. I had mentioned to him that I was doing this album and he said, ‘Hey, if you still have room on your CD, I’d love to play on it.’ So that came to fruition as well. It was a dream come true for me to create this CD with three major heroes of mine and who have also become very good friends over the years.”
McIntosh’s friendship with Ronnie Wood goes back to his solo debut, New Orleans to London. “I had met Ronnie and Keith a long time ago, in 1999, through Art Neville. When I began working on my first CD, I reached out to Ronnie’s manager to see if I could get him to play on a track. Normally, Ronnie doesn’t play on other people’s records, but the fact that I was working with Art, Ivan and Cyrille Neville and the Neville Brother’s drummer Willie Green piqued his interest. So I sent him the music to check out and he liked it. Initially, he was going to play on one tune, but he ended up playing on five tunes just because he liked the music and was having fun. When I arrived at Ronnie’s London house, he said “Jeff Beck might come by today and want to play”. I couldn’t believe my ears. Jeff ended up playing on three tracks! Ronnie said as Jeff was recording, ‘You can’t believe how f**k’n lucky you are, he won’t play on anything.’ So it was kind of a flukey thing with Jeff.
Ronnie and I have stayed in touch since my first record. When I started this project, I mentioned that I’d like to cover one of his tunes. He suggested a couple things off his new album, I Feel Like Playing. I ended up covering his tune ‘I Gotta See.’ Ronnie played an extended solo on “I Gotta See” with a slide outro solo! He played a few takes all of which were different and equally great! Ronnie and I also did a couple of impromptu jams in the studio, that turned out really nicely. It was a very informal session. We just said, ‘What key?’ and started playing. So it’s loose and about as downhome as you can get without being in the swamps.”
One of those loose, downhome impromptu jams, the 12-bar “Slow Blues,” opens this collection in stunning fashion with Wood’s impeccable slide guitar work mingling with McIntosh’s slinky, clean-toned Tele. “The Logue,” a Meters-styled tune, fueled by Ivan Neville’s organ and the funky push-pull hookup between drummer Panos and bassist John Humphrey, is named after McIntosh’s best friend who he grew up with. The N’awlins flavored second line groover “Letsco” features some of Scofield’s nastiest, distortion-laced licks while “Juju” (based on a dissonant chord from Scofield’s “The Low Road” from his 2007 album This Meets That) features McIntosh’s Hendrixian meets Sco chording and a few Beck-inspired legato runs and string bends. “PM Blues,”, the jazziest offering on the CD, was inspired by Pat Metheny and features Mike Stern in swing mode with signature string bends and double-time flurries up and down the neck. McIntosh also pulls out his own jazzier lines on this number.
For a change of pace, McIntosh next performs an intimate solo acoustic finger-style version of maestro Duke Ellington’s beautiful ballad “Sophisticated Lady.” The Duke, it turns out, was a close friend of the McIntosh family when Jimmy grew up in Michigan. “Duke became a close friend of my mom’s and he was like a long distance father figure. I played French horn then. Before my first concert with the school band, he called me that afternoon and gave me a little pep talk over the phone: ‘Don’t be nervous, you’ll be fine.’ Because he was a close family friend, I wanted to honor him on this second album. Mr. Ellington told my mom ‘Someday Jim will want to play his own music’. His words have always been in the back of my mind since I was in high school. When I worked on “Sophisticated Lady”, I listened to him play it as well as other people play it, and then I came up with my own arrangement of it. I am happy with the way it came out.”
Scofield returns for “Lavona’s Boogie,” named for McIntosh’s mother. It offers some tasty soloing and potent exchanges between Scofield and McIntosh on this “Iko Iko” vibe. McIntosh’s rendition of Woods’ gospel-tinged “I Gotta See” features an expressive tenor sax solo from guest Albert Wing and a gutsy, economical solo from the Stones longtime axe man. Wing is also featured singing through his horn on the soulful vehicle “Demon” , a Keith Richards’ tune from 1992’s Main Offender CD, that builds to a passionate crescendo. McIntosh then turns in a funky take on Robert Johnson’s “32-20 Blues”. Stern returns to lay down his ‘chops of doom’ licks on the angular and aggressive McIntosh original “Back 2 Cali.” McIntosh goes toe-to-toe with the former Miles Davis guitarist on this audaciously funky number.
After graduating from high school in 1976, Jimmy attended the Berklee College of Music for two years and later got a bachelors degree in music arts with a major in guitar performance from the University of Michigan. In 1981, he moved to Las Vegas, a place with deep roots for the McIntosh family. “In 1905 my grandfather built the first saloon in Las Vegas, a place called The Arizona Club, which was literally the first permanent structure in Vegas,” he explains. Since relocating to Las Vegas, he’s been an in-demand guitarist on the music scene. Over the years McIntosh has played with R&B singer Doris Troy (of “Just One Look” fame) and Little Anthony & The Imperials, backed up Buddy Hackett and Ben Vereen, and also had a longstanding gig with the popular Vegas show “Legends In Concert.” He has also included work on more than 40 national tv shows, appearing in the house band for Penn & Teller’s “Sin City Spectacular,” which aired for 24 one-hour episodes on the FX network (performing with the likes of Slash, Lyle Lovett, Weird Al Yankovic, Eric Idle, Jennifer Holliday and Clarence Clemmons). He also played in the house band on Comedy Central’s “Viva Variety,” and The WB network Ron White show.
The album closes on an upbeat boogie note with Wood and McIntosh wailing in the studio (sans rhythm section) on “Fast Blues,” bringing this outing to a scintillating conclusion. “Ronnie doesn’t sound like an imitation of the Blues, he’s a real deal bluesman,” says McIntosh. “You feel, playing next to him, like you could be playing with John Lee Hooker. He sounds really powerful and amazing, like a freight train. It was really awesome to play with him.”
Born on October 14, 1958 in Sao Paolo, Brazil, McIntosh grew up in the small town of Temperance, Michigan, where his family moved when he was seven years old. He played French horn (on an instrument given to him by Duke Ellington, a close family friend) in the junior high school band before picking up the guitar at age 14 and beginning private lessons the following year. “I was a Beatles fan as a kid until I saw the Rolling Stones’ movie ‘Gimme Shelter’ in 1970,” he recalls. “At that point, I became a huge Stones fan. That became an influence that’s lasted to this day.” In 10th grade, Jimmy began studying with John Justus, the local jazz guitar guru in Toledo, Ohio. “I started studying with John in the Spring of 1974,” he remembers. “I was working with John on a chord melody of an Ellington tune about the time Duke passed away (May 24, 1974).” While studying with Justus, McIntosh met and befriended fellow guitarist Scott Henderson, who had moved to Toledo to work in a Top 40 band. “I met him at a music store in Toledo,” he recalls. “We both used to sit in with a local jazz band and hung out together. Scott was already an incredible player.”
After graduating from high school in 1976, Jimmy attended the Berklee College of Music for two years. He then transferred to the University of Michigan and got his bachelor’s degree in music arts with a major in guitar performance.
In 1981, he moved to Las Vegas, a place with deep roots for the McIntosh family. “In 1905, my grandfather built the first saloon in Las Vegas, a place called The Arizona Club, which was literally the first permanent structure in Vegas,” he explains. Since relocating to Las Vegas, he’s been an in-demand guitarist on the music scene. Over the years McIntosh has played with R&B singer Doris Troy (of “Just One Look” fame), Billy Preston and Little Anthony & The Imperials, backed up Buddy Hackett and Ben Vereen, and also had a longstanding gig with the popular Vegas show “Legends In Concert.” He has also worked on national TV shows. He appeared in the house band for Penn & Teller’s “Sin City Spectacular,” which aired for 24 one-hour episodes on the FX network (performing with the likes of Slash, Lyle Lovett, Weird Al Yankovic, Eric Idle, Jennifer Holliday and Clarence Clemmons). He also played in the house band on Comedy Central’s “Viva Variety,” and The WB network’s “Ron White Show.”
Since 1990, McIntosh has played regularly in the popular Lon Bronson All-Stars Band, a powerhouse horn band. The Lon Bronson band had a longstanding weekly residency at the Riviera, where they entertained crowds ‘til the wee hours and featured such special guests sitting in as former Doobie Brothers guitarist and producer Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, guitarist Joe Walsh, Members of TOP, comedian (and sometime trumpeter) Drew Carey, bassist-magician-comedian Penn Jillette and former “Tonight Show” guitarist, bandleader and Jay Leno sidekick Kevin Eubanks. In 1999, following his longstanding engagement with the “Legends” show, McIntosh moved to the Rio Hotel to perform in a show with pop stars Sheena Easton and David Cassidy, then worked for the following two years in Cassidy’s touring band. He has subsequently played with pianist-composer David Foster, Donna Summer, Kenny Logins, Gloria Gaynor and played in musical theater productions of “Mamma Mia” and “Jersey Boys.”
It’s been eight years between McIntosh’s solo projects, 2006’s New Orleans to London and his recently released Jimmy McIntosh and... “But it only feels like four to me,” says the guitarist. Hopefully, his third project, which will no doubt feature a few other guitar heroes as special guests -- will come a bit sooner.