Chicago guitarist, composer and producer Vince Agwada has worked the Chicago music scene for over 25 years. This heavily blues and rock oriented musician has worked with artists like Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Magic Slim, Otis Rush, Syl Johnson and Sammy Lawhorn, to list but a few. Of his many awards the most standout one was when, in 1996, Agwada was listed as one of the top 40 Blues artists under 40 by Living Blues Magazine. Basic Blue is his second release as a leader.
Agwada has a heavily rock driven feel to his blues. Seriously punched and driven by drummer Clyde Davis whose vicious two fisted style plays well with Agwada’s thick chordal ala-Jimmy Hendrix guitar textures, Agawada approaches his music with a pedal to the metal take no prisoners attitude. Orlando Wright’s bass is totally locked into the ensemble so perfectly it’s almost impossible to pull the sound of his instrument from the guitar textures. It’s as if he and Agwada are one instrument.
Most of the tunes are of the power thrash-blues style, at which Agwada excels. Both “Chi-Town State Of Mind” and “Blindsided,” the lead in tracks on the CD, are of this style and open the disc perfectly. There is, however, some diversity. “President,” for example, has a nice half-beat style that is accentuated by the addition of Roosevelt Purifoy’s keyboard work. The instrumental “Head Too Tight” adds Michael Jackson’s spiced up saxophone into the almost pop-oriented backbeat, and “Shake It Up” has a three horn wind section that further helps to eliminate any monotony that might ensue. The down tempo “Black Rain” is so swampy you may have to play the track a number of times before you want to leave; it’s that inviting.
Agwada obviously knows what he’s doing and plays his hand extremely well on this disc. For seriously diehard blues fans this disc will thrill.
— Thomas R. Erdmann – Jazzreview.com