Michael Ullmann

The blues guitarist Ronnie Earl has suffered through bad times, and Healing Time celebrates his survival. Besides the plaintive, spacious blues that made him a poll-winning star, he demonstrates his jazz chops with an impassioned version of Duke Pearson’s ”Idle Moments.” But one person’s meditative trance is another’s spiritual torpor: His take on Pharoah Sanders’ late-’60s ”Thembi” sounds glib. Not so ”Amazing Grace” or the two throbbing blues tunes he shares with organist Jimmy McGriff, a welcome guest on a satisfying session. B+

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