Jimmy Bruno: Midnight Blue
With his Philly bandmates, Bruno arrives at a place that embraces the old and the new with mutual respect. He uses a variety of guitar effects like chorus and overdrive. I am a jazz purist and generally don’t like it when jazz guitarists head in this direction, but with Bruno it just sounds natural and makes sense.
Midnight Blue opens with a very unique version of "Secret Love." Bruno uses a slight chorus effect on his guitar, along with a groove that just won’t quit. His next track is the original "Funk 'n Benny" (named after his solid body 7-string guitar, The Benny, made by the legendary luthier Bob Benedetto).
On the third tune, "Hypertension", the trademark Bruno chops rear their head as you think to yourself: "How the hell does he do that!" (In fact, I received a $75 speeding ticket because of this very tune.) I tried to appeal to the Massachusetts State Trooper’s sense of artistry and tell him I was caught up in the new Jimmy Bruno CD and would try to control myself in the future. He stated: "If it’s not Willie (Nelson), I don’t want to hear about it."
The old chestnut "Stella By Starlight" pairs Bruno on his 7-string guitar and Gerald Veasley on his 6-string bass, creating an magically intimate duet. It’s hard to tell where one leaves off and the other begins, so tight is the arrangement.
The album is filled with surprises: wonderful originals, and new adataptions of old standards. The final tune, an Afro/Cuban version of John Coltrane’s "Impressions," energized this piece and gives it an entirely fresh vibe.
The sidemen are wonderful; the tunes are fresh and vibrant; and there is truly a new Jimmy Bruno for the new Millennium.
Track Listing: Secret Love, Funk
Personnel: Jimmy Bruno, guitars, Marc Dicciani, drums, Dave Hartl, piano, Fender Rhodes, Hammond B-3 organ, Ron Kerber, tenor & soprano saxophones, Gerald Veasley, six-string electric bass
Record Label: Concord Music Group