Billed as L.P. Pearson when he played Austin jukes a half-century ago, Big Pete Pearson has been a fixture on the Phoenix club scene for 40 years. I’m Here Baby showcases a blues singer whose shouting style conceals an odd delicacy. He phrases with a shake at the end of a line; the vibrato keeps him in tune. Pearson has a fine band, so I’m Here is like some late-’50s summit of jazz musicians whose styles had become comfortably antiquated — Jack Teagarden and Pee Wee Russell, maybe. The rub is that Teagarden and Russell were great soloists with unmistakable styles. Still, these musicians interact well, so that a ready-made such as “My Baby’s A Jockey” (an encomium to a woman named Mona) succeeds as an enjoyable genre piece. And on “Big Leg Woman”, guitarist Ike Turner plays twelve bars as eccentric and in-the-tradition as anything turned by Pee Wee Russell.
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