Aurora and I saw Sunny Killoran with her group Sunny and Her Joy Boys at the Ecotarium in Worcester last Friday evening. The group was founded by Duke Robillard, a guitarist who I had not heard of before but I’m glad I know about him now. He apparently has a wide following and is the soul of the group (or so it seemed to me). The band was wonderful and Duke’s playing is great. The sound of the Joy Boys is like that of D’jango Reinhardt, the Gypsy Guitarist of the thirties. Paul Kolesikow played rhythm guitar and Jesse Williams was on standup bass so the group swung continuously in the same mode as D’jango’s group did. Billy Novick played alto sax and clarinet. Billy has a sweet sound and harmonized well with Sunny’s brilliant vocals — his solos made us want to hear more. What a fine group — all that was missing was Stéphane Grappelli’s violin!
Sunny really sang the blues! She sang some Billy Holiday numbers and channeled Billy beautifully. Her voice is gorgeous and well trained, and/but she sings with lots of feeling; her phrasing is exquisite. Light when the song is light and deeper, more emotional when the song and lyrics call for it. I loved all the songs she sang but “You’re my Trill” and ‘Travelin’ All alone” are favorites. The band swung in a relaxed yet vibrant way, as if the entire affair was effortless. What a treat to hear those great songs performed so well. We are looking forward to another evening of Sunny’s music very soon.
We bought the debut CD of Sunny and Her Joy Boys and have played it a lot already. Go to their web page for details.