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 ?n Benny (Jimmy Bruno), Hypertension (Jimmy Bruno), Shades of Grey (Jimmy Bruno), Into the Blue Light (Ron Kerber), Philly Joe (Gerald Veasley), Midnight Blue (Jimmy Bruno), Fat Tuesday (Ron Kerber), First Dance (Ron Kerber), Perdido, Stella By Starlight, Impressions
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