David Maxwell
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David Maxwell

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David Maxwell @ Virginia Beach Festival

Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA

Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA

David Maxwell @ Ottawa Cisco Blues Festival

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

David Maxwell @ Ottawa Cisco Blues Festival

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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David Maxwell
Boston pianist David Maxwell specializes in re-creations of postwar blues standards, and his original tunes are based largely on those same themes. He brings a propulsive boogie feel to up-tempo numbers; on more introspective fare his playing has an unself-conscious intimacy. David Whiteis - Chicago Reader

David Maxwell quite simply is the best Blues Keyboardist alive. While so many pianists in that early post-war Chicago style seem to blend in the mix and get lost under the guitar, Maxwell sparkles, dances and makes every use of the precious spaces allowed him to shine.

Donald E.Wilcock - Norteast Blues Society Newsletter

of the blues.....
David Maxwell
"Max Attack"
BlueMax Records
David Maxwell has apprenticed and is the most in demand blues piano player today. David appears on albums by James Cotton, Ronnie Earl, Joe Louis Walker, Louisiana Red, Luther Guitar Jr. Johnson, Jimmy Rogers, Bob Margolis, Paul Oscher, just to name a few. His first cd was the critically acclaimed Maximium Blues Piano, an instrumental showcase, on The Tone-Cool label. He has just released “ Max Attack” on Dixie Frog Records and I have listed it as one of the Best New Blues Releases of 2003. Is is sub-titled David Maxwell and Friends and includes performances by Liane Carroll, James Cotton, Ronnie Earl, Duke Robillard, Kim Wilson, Pinetop Perkins, and Hubert Sumlin.

David finally let’s us hear him sing and he possesses a rich baritone voice, but it’s his piano playing that is most notable. David seem’s to have absorbed the piano stylings of Otis Spann, among others, with whom he was able to study with early on in his career.

In 1972 David became the piano player in Freddie King’s band and in 1977 joined The James Cotton Band. Later David became the piano player for Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters before re-joining James Cotton. On January 30th David will once again be featured in The Howlin’ Wolf Tribute Band with Hubert Sumlin, when they will appear at BB King’s.

David’s piano playing is in the “deep down’ Chicago style. The opening song “Backseat of a Greyhound Bus” has not only got David’s deep down piano but also his deep down voice. Straight forward and totally believable David eloquently elevates himself to be the the most important blues piano player today.

“Twisted Endons” is an instrumental in the Otis Spann style. James Cotton says “"David Maxwell plays with fire and soul. He keeps the spirit of Otis Spann alive”. “Long Distance Driver” is reminiscent of The Muddy Waters Blues Band and features James Cotton on harp. David writes all the songs here, most notable is “Moving Out of his world”, and “Thanks for All The Women”.

Otis Spann’s piano playing included an almost barrelhouse roll and it can be heard especially well on “Coming Home, Baby”. The vocal and guitar here are by Hubert Sumlin. The barrelhouse roll can be heard again on “Hip House Rock”, another fine instrumental.

“Thank you Pinetop Perkins” is a tribute to David’s friend and our 90 year old national treasure, Pinetop Perkins. It is a piano duo between Max and Top. I recently met Pinetop Perkins in the WFDU studios during an interview he was having with Bob Putignano on his “Sounds of Blue”. Another disc jockey “Beverly” kindly called him Mr. Pinetop and he spoke of his years with Muddy and his love of fishing.

The cd is beautifully produced by Tino Gonzalez and should be in every blues piano collection.

Richard Ludmerer

- NYJBS - Rich's Room

David Maxwell is many things - all of which are fascinating, important and unique. Besides being one of the greatest living Blues pianists, he’s also a walking keeper-of the-flame whose 40 years in Blues experiences are unique, profound and documentation-worthy (an understatement). In addition to playing with all of the great Blues legends of the last 40 years and contributing mightily to their live and recorded sounds, Dave has been a very keen observer of Blues life and lives. I’d love to write a book with him and if any aspiring writer is looking for an untapped vault on Blues history, Mr. Maxwell will be more than willing to share his rich observations and experiences. Chances are that you have already heard and/or seen David many times if you have any sort of CD/DVD/video collection related to modern Blues. My first experiences with him go back to the El Mocambo in Toronto circa 1971-72 and The Colonial Tavern on Yonge St. His love for the music combined with his superb piano skills (a big-time Otis Spann and Johnny Jones student) impressed every Blues artist who heard him and for most of the last 4 decades, David Maxwell was the First-Call Piano Man for tours and recording sessions. His serious friendships with all other remaining veterans of 1960s/70s Blues scene is highlighted on this disc with star contributors such as James Cotton (a long time employer), Kim Wilson, Pinetop Perkins, Duke Robbillard, Ronnie Earl, Hubert Sumlin and longtime rhythm section all-stars Michael ‘Mudcat’ Ward (bass) and Per Hanson (drums), who I feel deserve to be as well-known as Shannon/Layton of Double Trouble.
What’s fascinating is that this disc is produced (mainly) in England by Tino Gonzales, who may be the greatest living, in-exile Blues genius, a fact only really recognized by the fortunate European audience and a handful of East Coast peers which includes David Maxwell.
David has decided that it is time for him to sing and he does well delivering an honest, ragged-ruff-gruff voice devoid of pretension and he succeeds in conveying his life experience lyrics to our ears. Hubert and Lianne Carroll (a big British vocal star) get one vocal track each and David gets seven with 4 knockout (and diverse) instrumentals, including David’s pianistic Chicago-style tour-de-force, “Twisted Tendons”.
While one might possibly get the wrong impression as to musical content thanks to the contemporary groove/instrumentation of the opening title track, the album quickly changes gears back to stompin’ boogie sounds and intense, slow Blues tunes. Even though “Max Attack” is an anomaly compared to the other tracks, it’s still killer a la ‘Max-meets-Herbie Hancock’ and Fayaz Virgi (trombone), Kevin Robinson (trumpet), and Pat Claher (sax) are magnificent while Mr. Maxwell gets funky on the old wurlitzer. “Hip House Rock” is a heavy-on-the-bass-keys boogie instrumental that the Shag/Beach music scene will dig and very quickly David asserts his pianistic prowess while Duke R. answers choruses with vintage Pee Wee Crayton-style guitar. Very hot!
Now, I’ve said this several times now over the last 2-3 years, but again it needs to be repeated: Kim Wilson is singing/blowin’ harp better now than he ever has and his contributions to “Long Distance Driver” are spirited and right-on-the-money – HE WAILS! Dave pounds those keys in Spann-like fashion and the results are infectious. Another great dance floor tune. Deep, dark, somber ‘you did me wrong’ vibes on “Moving Out Of This World” with Ronnie Earl’s stinging guitar adding tremendous atmosphere. It’s actually on this slow piece that Maxwell shows the height of his skills on the keys (just as his mentor before him). “Thanks For All Women” is a great, ribald, ‘Mannish Boy-styled’ Chicago thumper that has lots of commercial potential especially with other artists looking for great material.
“What’s The Use (Of A Broken Heart)”, the flaming duet with British vocal sensation Lianne Carroll, is a smoky masterpiece, the kind of man-woman dialogue that we used to get back in the 1960s. Maxwell’s deep baritone anchors Lianne’s beautiful voice and makes you wish that it was 5 minutes longer. “Sticky Buns” is a funky Blues shuffle that will get ‘em up dancin’ while “Back Of A Greyhound Bus” is deep, deep, Blues with Mr. Earl showing his mastery and Maxwell proving that he’s got classic Blues piano stylings covered from A to Z. “Coming Home Baby” is a MUST HEAR track with Hubert Sumlin MAGIC on guitar/vocals and David sounding like Chicago 1952.
“Twisted Tendons” is our pick for a Shag hit and easily the Blues Piano Tune of the Year. Per Hanson shows how to play drums with a piano man. Killer! (Jerry Lee Lewis would dig this!)
“Thank you Pinetop Perkins”, a 4-hands tribute to Pinetop with Maxwell and Pinetop on the same bench, is just plain beautiful and fitting. Nice closing tune. So yes, we have what you would call a Blues Masterpiece and let’s hope this fantastic Pure - Real Blues

Who knew blue came in so many shades?On this remastered re-release,veteran bluesman
Maxwell wails through a wide-ranging but cohesive collection of bouncing boogies,grungy honky-tonks,and wipping ballads.Tight arrangements played by even tighter horn and rhythm sections set off David’s barritone vocals and rancous keyboard work,keeping each tune fresh,souful and punchy.Perhaps most impressively,David pulls the whole thing off with a playful sense of humor.
- Michael Gallant,Keyboard Magazine

David Maxwell Max Attack

Originally released on the {@Blue Max} label in 2003
with this {@95 North Records} version appearing in
2005, the gifted {$David Maxwell}'s piano opens this
fun and important disc up with the mostly instrumental
{&"Sticky Buns"}, which drives like a cross between
the {$J Geils Band} debut and {$Traffic} during their
{^John Barleycorn Must Die} phase. That jazz vs.
blues battle continues later on the cd with the
majestic and grooving {&"Moving Out Of His World"}
which absorbs moods from different genres and delivers
true Modern Electric Blues. Picture {$Jim Morrison}
sitting at the piano in his sixties (though {$Maxwell}
is a good decade younger than Jimbo would've been at
the time of this release) assuring the woman that the
change in partners is nothing to fret over.
{&"Hip-House Rock"} changes things dramatically, an
entertaining instrumental with plenty of lively space
in between. Producer {$Tino Gonzales} does a superb
job keeping things crisp and not getting in the way of
{$David Maxwell}'s arrangements on this material
recorded between July and November of 2005. The piano
on {&"Thanks For All The Women"} is bright yet still
dark in tone, a nice balance as the guitar answers are
separated in the stereo mix. With {$James Cotton},
{$Ronnie Earl}, {$Duke Robillard}, {$Pinetop Perkins},
{$Liane Carroll} and the redoubtable {$Hubert Sumlin}
as just some of the marquee guests, {^Max Attack} is
an engaging follow-up to 1997's {^Maximum Blues
Piano}. While {&"Handyman"} is pure blues (not the
{$Del Shannon}/{$James Taylor} hit {&"Handy Man"}
written by {$Otis Blackwell} and {$Jimmy "Handyman"
Jones} - this disc is all Maxwell originals) the title
track, {&"Max Attack"}, opens jazz with chirping horns
before morphing back into a pattern of bluesy showcase
- perhaps a nice intro to {$Buzzy Linhart} concerts as
{$Dave Maxwell} is also that legend's music director.
Liner notes by {$Ted Drozdowski} of {$The Devil Gods}
and the latter-day {$Scissormen} make for a very nice
package on this hours worth of music by a superb
musician deserving of more noteriety.

Rock Journalist Joe Viglione - All Music Guide

"If you enjoy blues and roots music piano, these Maxwell originals will put you in ecstasy and have you casting a vote, for pianist of the year."
--Living Blues magazine - Living Blues Magazine

There's plenty to recommend musically; the players have serious chops, and Maxwell's tunes are wise and well-written. - Jeff Calvin- Blues Revue



2008-David will release 2 albums this year,tba in
march. David has done a lot of studio on
other artist project set to be release in 08.

2006-Chicago Bob Nelson-Flyin'to High (95 North Records)

2005-Various-Tribute to the Cadillac (95 North Records)

2005-David Maxwell & Friends Max Attack-remastered-95 North Records

2004-Live at the Handy Awards volume2-Shemekia
Copeland/RL Burnside (forthcoming release)
2004-Paul Oscher, Alone With the Blues (Electro-Fi
2004-Nico Wayne Toussaint, Transatlantic Live
2004-James Cotton, Baby Don’t You Tear My Clothes
2004-David Maxwell & Friends, Max Attack (Bluemax
2003-Darrell Nulisch, Times Like These (Severn
2003-David Maxwell & Friends, Max Attack
(Dixiefrog~European release)
2003-Steve Guyger, Live at the Dinosaur BBQ
[re-issue] (Horseplay Records)
2002-James Cotton, 35th Anniversary Jam (Telarc)
2002-Fred McDowell-Preachin’ the Blues~The Music of
Mississippi Fred McDowell (Telarc)
2002-Hubert Sumlin with Eric Clapton, Keith Richards
and Levon Helm (forthcoming release)
2002-Joe Louis Walker, In the Morning (Telarc)
2002-Blues for a Rotten Afternoon ~ various artists
2001-Ronnie Earl, Ronnie Earl and Friends (Telarc)
2001-Louisiana Red, A Different Shade of Red (Severn
2001-Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson, Talkin’ About
Soul (Telarc)
2000-James Cotton, Fire Down Under the Hill (Telarc)
2000-James Cotton, Superharps (Telarc)
2000-Roy Gaines, New Frontier Lover (Severn
2000-Ola Mae Dixon, Labor of Love (Severn Records)
1999-Savoy Brown, Blues Keep Me Holding On (Mystic
1999-The Songs of Willy Dixon~with special guests
1999-Steve Freund, “C” for Chicago (Telarc)
1999-Cathy Lemons Blues Band, Dark Road (Saloon)
1998-Mike Welch, Catch Me (Tone-Cool)
1998-Blues Organ Grooves ~ various artists (Rounder
1997-Jesse Yawn, Forever More (Horseplay)
1997-David Maxwell, Maximum Blues Piano(Tone-Cool)
1997-John Primer, Keep on Lovin’ the Blues(Code Bleu)
1996-James Cotton, Deep in the Blues (Verve)
1995-Bob Margolin, Up and In (Alligator)
1995-Paul Oscher, The Deep Blues of Paul Oscher
(Blues Planet)
1995-John Primer, The Real Deal (Atlantic)
1995-Steve Guyger (Remedy Records)
1994-Paul Oscher, Knockin’ at the Devil’s Door
1993-Jimmy Rodgers with Ronnie Earl and the
Broadcasters (Bullseye)
1993-Brooklyn Slim, Nothing but the Blues (Mojo
1993-Robert Lee “Chicago Bob” Nelson, Keep What I
Got (Planis Phare)
1993-Paul Rishell, Swear to Tell the Truth (Tone-Cool)
1993-Bob Margolin, Down in the Alley (Alligator)
1992-Luther “Snake Boy” Johnson, They Call me the
Snake (Fan Club Fed)
1992-Ronnie Earl, Test of Time (Black Top)
1992-Eddie Kirkland, All Around the World (Deluge)
1992-Pinetop Perkins, On Top (Deluge)
1991-Ronnie Earl, Surrounded by Love (Black Top)
1991-Boston Blues Blast ~ volume 1 (Tone-Cool)
1991-Fried Green Tomatoes Soundtrack,“Rooster
Blues” with Ronnie Earl & Peter Wolf (MCA)
1990-Ronnie Earl, Peace of Mind (Black Top)
1987-Hubert Sumlin, Blues Party (Black Top)
1983-Ronnie Earl, Smokin’ (Black Top)
1979-The Nighthawks, Jacks and Kings ~ Full House
1978-The Nighthawks, Jacks and Kings ~ volume 1
1977-Paula Lockhart with Peter Ecklund (Flying Fish)
1973-Freddie King, Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival




David Maxwell has amassed an enormous resume throughout the years playing piano with some of the greatest and most well-known musicians in the blues. David’s style encompasses elements of the blues and jazz, but he is best known for his soulful virtuosity and unmatched ability to reach the heart of post-war Chicago Blues. Through his work, he has gained the respect of artists, critics and fans and has established a reputation as one of the finest pianists alive.

While growing up just outside of Boston in the 1960’s, David frequented the legendary Club 47, Jazz Workshop and Paul’s Mall and was exposed to such blues greats as Skip James, Son House, Fred McDowell, Big Mama Thornton and Muddy Waters.

Through his friendship with Muddy, David was able to study the intricate lines of Otis Spann – Muddy’s longtime pianist – who quickly became David’s mentor and biggest influence. From 1966 until Spann’s death in 1970, David absorbed Otis’s rhythmic sense, deft use of both hands, and ability to shine while performing in a band setting – complimenting the others, allowing the music to breathe, but still attaching a personal touch to the music. David also became friends and formed important relationships with Pinetop Perkins, Sunnyland Slim and John Lee Hooker.

In 1972, David sat in with Freddie King and soon became the legendary guitarist’s piano player – touring both the US and Europe with tour dates at the Montreux and Ann Arbor Jazz Festivals, and at Madison Square Garden. David’s reputation among the blues crowd grew quickly, and throughout the 1970’s he was called upon to do stints with Bonnie Raitt, Jimmy Rogers, Buddy Guy and Junior Wells, James Cotton, and Otis Rush among others, playing festival and club dates with some of the greatest blues musicians ever. He also was a part of the house band at the famed Speakeasy in Cambridge, MA, backing many touring performers in the mid-seventies. David joined the James Cotton Band in 1977 (with Matt Murphy on guitar) and toured with him for two and a half years.

David settled in his home base of Boston, where from 1983-1989 he organized the house band at Nightstage in Cambridge, MA. He formed his own band, ‘David Maxwell and the Blues Wizards’, who backed such luminaries as Albert King, Lowell Fulson and Hubert Sumlin when they came through the city. David complimented these dates with festival tours with Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker and Johnny Adams before joining Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters as their full-time pianist from 1990 to 1992, performing on five different albums and touring the US and Europe. After his stint with the Broadcasters, David did several tours with Jimmy Rogers, went to Japan for the second time with Otis Rush and toured Europe with Otis and John Primer.
David also played in Italy, Spain and Norway with James Cotton in 1995, and played the Blue Note Clubs in Japan with him in 1997. In the spring of 1998, David played with Cotton at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. In the Summer of 1998, the James Cotton Trio performed in Switzerland and also in Norway at the Notodden Festival. Over the years, David has traveled and played in India, Morocco, Thailand and Indonesia and has recorded music from those areas as well.

David teamed up with James Cotton again in 1993 as part of the James Cotton Trio. He continued to work with James, becoming an integral part of his Trio and Band through 2002. David would often open up sets playing solo for ten to fifteen minutes. The band played major festivals in the US and toured in Europe and Japan. David also participated in James Cotton’s 1997 Grammy Award winning album “Deep in the Blues” (Verve). In the last few years David has been featured on dates with Levon Helm and reunited with Hubert Sumlin, with whom he toured in England in 2002. It was after this tour that David began recording (in England) his second album under his own name “Max Attack” (Dixiefrog), which was released in Europe in June of 2003. The album features guest appearances from Ronnie Earl, Duke Robillard, Kim Wilson, James Cotton, Pinetop Perkins and Hubert Sumlin. David participated, as well, in the Howlin’ Wolf Tribute Band, featuring Sumlin, David Johansen and Levon Helm.

In addition to appearing in major festivals in North America and Europe, David has been busy in recording studios over the last thirty years having done albums for Telarc, Severn, Verve, ToneCool, Delmark, Alligator and other labels with James Cotton, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Hubert Sumlin, Joe Louis Walker, Ronnie Earl, Louisiana Red, Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson, Roy Gaines, John Primer, Bob Margolin, Paul Oscher, Steve Freund and many others.

He is often compared to Otis Spann, for his ability to resurrect the spirit and sound of the master of post-war Chicago Blues Piano, but David is no mere imitation. He has created a style and sound uniquely his own. His diverse musical back