Joe LoPiccolo: Passages (2004)
LoPiccolo, who is an ambitious California musician and educator, does perform in the Pasadena area, in small group settings as a jazz guitarist; he has established credentials as a guitarist and composer often appearing in duo with guitarist Ray Sandoval. For this occasion, LoPiccolo provides a number of settings including two solo guitar efforts, pairing up with Andrew York (of Los Angeles Guitar Quartet) or Balkan guitarist Miroslav Tadic in a duo or quartet setting, and with the addition of Eric Barber primarily on soprano sax.
The album begins with "Jensen" as a Nouveau Flamenco number that sounds as authentic as a performance in Barcelona. The compositions pairing LoPiccolo with York or Tadic, such as "Thunder," "Waves," or "Spirit Dance," produce a flurry of skilled fingerpicking with great facility on the part of the respective guitarists. Barber is featured on several numbers, largely playing soprano sax, and he provides the same effect as Paul McCandless in giving a New Age setting for the small group. As an added change of pace, LoPiccolo duets with bassist Steen on "Seulb" and "Etude #3."
The primary appeal of the album should be for classical guitar enthusiasts, and while LoPiccolo reports that all but one of these tracks contain improvisation, it would be difficult to shoehorn this entry into a chamber jazz categorization. It is, however, a most listenable effort for those plectrists who enjoy the performance of a facile picker in whatever you should choose to call his music.
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Track Listing: Jensen, Thunder, Anthem, Waves, For Egberto, Seulb, Africana, Passages, Calling, Spirit Dance, Be Forewarned, Etude #3.
Personnel: Joe LoPiccolo, guitar. Aggregate Personnel: Miroslav Tadic, Andrew York, guitar; Rene Camacho or Larry Steen, bass; Randy Gloss, tabla, percussion; Eric Barber, soprano and tenor sax.