Live From The Vault
This is an engaging live recording by two of Portland’s most talented musicians, keyboardist Dave Fleschner and guitar master Alan Hager. Both have extensive backgrounds in the local and national blues scene, but pairing the two together was simply a stroke of genius. Recorded at The Vault at O’Connor’s in Portland’s Multnomah Village neighborhood, the duet strolls through eleven numbers covering a wide variety of music history and they place their own unique touch on each.
Dave Fleschner’s piano work shows exceptional range, whether it’s a stride, New Orleans boogie or a Otis Spann-styled Chicago number, he can do it all with precision and flair. He has toured the country working with blues luminaries like Curtis Salgado, John Nemeth, Karen Lovely and Earl Thomas. Alan Hager is a guitarist’s guitar player, having been partners with local legends Terry Robb and Bill Rhoades. Rhoades complimented Hager by calling him the “most complete and accomplished musician he has ever worked with.” Although Hager can play lead with the best to be found anywhere, Rhoades also noted his adeptness at rhythm guitar, a lost art that makes Hager the perfect complement to any grouping he performs with. It is Hager’s rhythm that truly blends immaculately with Fleschner’s piano. In the live setting it keeps the music flowing and alive, as each takes their turn at soloing and sharing vocal leads.
Song selections are all covers, but they’ve been reworked into Hager/Fleschner original takes. Exceptional numbers in this performance, recorded over two dates in May 2013, include the Jimmy Rogers’ classic “Chicago Bound” with Fleschner running a tremendous solo, “House Of The Rising Sun” which takes on a more lively pace than its original dirge like movement, a beautiful rendition of Jack Bruce’s “Theme From An Imaginary Western” that if you’re only familiar with Mountain’s rocking version you’re going to fall in love with this take, and the fun vocal trade-offs on Bob Dylan’s “Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat.” Other tracks include pieces written by Willie Dixon, Ivory Joe Hunter, Professor Longhair, Little Brother Montgomery and Big Maceo Merriweather.
A stunning capture of Hager and Fleschner in their glory as live performers, whose skills each make the other shine all the more. Piano players and guitarists do not perform as a duet so much nowadays. But upon listening to Live At The Vault, the question is there . . . why not?
Total Time: 69:23
Mama Don’t Allow / One More Time / Chicago Bound / Almost Lost My Mind / House Of The Rising Sun / Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat / Prescription For The Blues / Hey Little Girl / Theme From An Imaginary Western / My Babe / Worried Life Blues