rockford illinois entertainment guide
Date: 06/12/2005
Spotlight On Bass: Charles Mack's Next Generation Blues
by Lisa Palmeno

Bassist Charles Mack belongs on a big stage. Best known as Grammy Award Winner James Cotton's bass player, Mack has a healthy roster of achievements of his own, including the release of his first solo effort Next Generation Blues.


Mack's aggressive approach on the 6-string bass captures the audience's attention, and his career can be aptly described by the title of the first song on his debut album: "Movin'".


NGB's formal release party was held at Big Cities Lounge in Rockford, IL on May 7. The party started off in rock n' roll style, with an introduction by Blues D.J. and Guru Rich Gordon, followed by Mack's band on a funky, full, bounce-plus version of The Rolling Stones' "Miss You."


Charles Mack Band's sound is a mixture of influences, especially hard rock, with heavy bass lines and up-tempo style. The overall effect is heavy and hard, tough but not rough, with clean classic rock guitar stuff and enough funk and pizzazz to make a listener float back 30 years or so.


The performance was spiced with lots of instrumentals that provided room for Mack's meaningful progressions and subtly interjected vocals.


"I'm A Blues Man," Mack's tribute to his father is reminiscent of "Down Home Blues": Traditional, tried and true. The song tells the story of how Charles' dad worked in the fields in South Carolina all day and came home each day and "played some guitar." In the song, his dad says, "I'm doin' the best I can."


Mr. Mack must have done a fine job: Charles is an entrepreneur as well as a master musician. Mack is owner of, an internet resource for musicians, and Mack 9 Records. He has played all 50 of the United States and 33 other countries. He also holds endorsements from Jim Reed Guitars, Yamaha Guitars, and Crews Basses. And, since the release of NGB, he has been getting plenty of radio requests.


This guy's "got skills," and so does his band. Guitarist Ivan Daddy "i"'s slides, hot riffs and licks, and whammy bar techniques peppered the songs just right as the music moved forward with purpose and direction, evenly-paced and straight down the tracks. Drummer Malcolm Banks held the timing perfectly. Eric Staag sat in with Mack for the first time at Big Cities, and he fit in like a pro.



Mack's project is a class act with enough polish to make the big time. The CD is very clean and professional, with a beautifully haunting ballad, "Katie's Alone," highlighting the compilation. The album is a creative, fresh and interesting recording, and Charles Mack Band is a must-hear for blues circuit afficionados. To learn more about Charles Mack, visit Next Generation Blues can be purchased on Mack's website and also at

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