Paul Bollenback continues to show his stuff on Invocation
. Bollenback's early recorded appearances came with the rise of Joey DeFrancesco, with whom the guitarist spent sixteen years, appearing on the award-winning organist's early 1990s albums.
On Brightness of Being (Elefant Dreams, 2006), Bollenback demonstrated his value as a composer and player. For his second project on Elefant Dreams, the guitarist is joined by bassist Ed Howard; drummer Victor Lewis; trumpeter/flugelhornist Randy Brecker, and with vocalist Chris McNulty's vocalese featured on several tracks.
Bollenback shows his compositional and playing mettle on several originals, as well as the jazz/R&B standard "Everything Must Change," by Bernard Ighner, Johnny Mandel's ballad, "Emily," and the Irving Berlin classic, "How Deep is the Ocean." Brecker and McNulty's presence is most effective on the two-part title track that invokes inner peace in a manner reminiscent of Coltrane's famed A Love Supreme (Impulse!, 1964). On the album closer, a version of Coltrane's "After the Rain," Brecker plays the melody while Bollenback's spacey guitar fills reflect the style of decades past.
Bollenback covers a wide variety of styles beyond the initial bluesy manner that he displayed with DeFrancesco. Having seen him in a swinging guitar trio setting, as well as playing with Ed Howard in the summer of 2007 behind singer Karrin Allyson, only reinforces respect for his chops and musical growth.
Personnel: Paul Bollenback: guitar; Randy Brecker: trumpet, flugelhorn; Victor Lewis: drums; Ed Howard: bass; Chris McNulty: vocals.