Al Basile's musical values were developed in the 50s and 60s, and his work shows the influences of blues, jazz, soul, and gospel music of that era, as well as that of the generation before his birth. His new CD is built on that American roots music of the middle of the 20th century and features the lyric writing of a great contemporary storyteller who also happens to be an award winning poet. His 13th solo CD Mid-Century Modern is built to last, with Al handling the soulful vocals and the lion's share of the solo work on his bluesy, succinct cornet (his five BMA nominations since 2010 are testament to his unique potency on the horn). Produced by Duke Robillard, it has Duke's rhythm section joined by "Monster" Mike Welch on guitar, and Roomful of Blues alumni horns, with a cameo by Duke on two songs. Those conversant with the last century will notice classic musical influences including Louis Jordan, Buddy Johnson, Richard Berry, Albert King, Lee Dorsey, and Slim Harpo – but the message of these songs is Al Basile's alone. They are like no other.
Quotes from Al about Mid-Century Modern: I wrote these songs over a 14 day period last summer right after finishing the Knickerbocker All Stars project, where we did a lot of classic R&B and blues material that featured horn solos. That got me thinking about the repertoire we played in Roomful of Blues in the Seventies and how much fun it was to solo over those grooves. Thought I'd write a bunch of songs that I could stretch out on the horn a little more than I usually do. It was like writing a bunch of stories about old friends. And using my horn as well as my voice to tell them.