Bryan Lee, Katrina Was Her Name (Justin Time)

Guitar-slinger Bryan Lee is always at his best in a live setting—but unfortunately, his latest isn’t a live album (He’s already made two at his old haunt, the Old Absinthe House on Bourbon Street). Lee plays like he’s still on Bourbon, hauling out chestnuts like Robert Parker’s “Barefootin’” and B.B. King’s “Ain’t Nobody’s Business,” even calling out band members by name for solos. The somber title track sounds out of place, since he jumps right back into the endless-party groove as soon as it’s done.

Strangely, the disc doesn’t feature enough of the one thing Lee does best—play flashy guitar solos. Instead, producer (and fellow guitarist) Duke Robillard gives the disc a big-band sound close to that of Robillard’s former band, Roomful of Blues. Things don’t really take off until the closing funk jam, “Don’t Joke with the Stroke” which throws all traces of relevance, not to mention lyrical coherence, out the window.