After sideman work, then membership in cooperative groups with Cyrille Neville, Devon Allman and others, in 2012 the St. Louis blues guitarist and singer Mike Zito formed his band, The Wheel. Few dedicated jazz listeners also keep up with developments in the music that grows out of country blues pioneers like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson and Tampa Red—and such later urban performers as Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith and Big Bill Broonzy. Over the past century, hundreds of blues artists in Memphis, New Orleans, Dallas, Chicago and dozens of other places have forged personal blues styles. Zito is helping to extend the tradition. Here, he and The Wheel play “Bad News Is Coming.” The sidemen are Jimmy Carpenter, tenor saxophone; Scott Sutherland, bass; and Rob Lee, drums.
I’d like to have heard a tenor solo, but you can’t have everything. Zito’s newest album is Keep Coming Back. Based on what we just saw and heard, it seems more than worth checking out.