This collection of ten blues and blues-rock tracks represents jazz guitarist Scott Henderson's tribute (if not complete return) to the emotive guitar playing of his early guitar influences: Jimmy Page and Albert King. Released in 1994 after a string of highly acclaimed jazz fusion recordings, Dog Party won equal approval from the fickle guitar virtuoso press and fan base, winning every important magazine readers poll for best blues recording. Accompanying Henderson on drums and vocals is drummer, vocalist, and fellow Tribal Tech member Kirk Covington; bassist Richard Ruse; and a host of heavyweight guest guitarists, vocalists, keyboard players, and other instrumentalists. The music is comparatively direct relative to Henderson's fusion work, but the guitarist's chord and phrasing mastery is plenty evident throughout Dog Party. Choice tracks include the vibrant "Milk Bone," the fuzzed-out and excessive "Hound Dog" cover, and the furious opener, "Hole Diggin'." These stretched-out tracks are pure musical treats, while the more pop- and rock-structured cuts have an effect that might leave fans feeling as if something (specifically, the guitarist's tasty soloing) is being unduly held back. Smart, syncopated, and snappy, Dog Party is a feast of stylish blues served with grace and feeling.
But, getting back to the music: From the first tune on, this cd will grab you by the lobes of your ears and suck you right in. The opener "Hole Diggin" is an instrumental played at a fast and furious pace with a lot of SRV style to it. After this it only gets better with the slow burnin' "Fence Climbin' Blues". Man, I can't emphasize enough how good a player Henderson is. He's got about 3 minutes of solo guitar work in this song that left me sittin' with my headphones on and my jaw locked on open. Technically, with his jazz background and all, there may not be a better guitar player playing today. And I'm not overstating the fact. I've had this cd for a while, and it never ceases to amaze me. As for the rest of the music, you get the idea, it's all good. And he even does a finger snappin' cover of "Hound Dog" that's enough to make any dog do a 4 paw strut across the floor. The only thing else I can say is get your grubby claws on this and don't let go. "Dog Party" definitely gets an enthusiastic 5 barks up.