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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Frank Portolese: Plectrum Jazz Guitar Solos

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Solo jazz guitar is a harsh and unforgiving lover. The piano provides a more complete performance experience as a solo instrument for technical reasons, though this same completeness can be achieved on guitar by a precious few, talented enough to achieve such artistic parity. Add to this the stipulation that a plectrum (guitar pick) be used in preference to finge-picking, and the number of masters diminishes even further. The touchstone of this brand of playing is, of course, Joe Pass, who was to the plectrum-played jazz guitar as Art Tatum was to jazz piano. And therein lies ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Frank Portolese: Last Call

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This is a guitar lover’s album. Frank Portolese plays standards as they’ve been done before and he also turns it loose with a free spirit and a loose structure. Alternating groups, the guitarist works standards with piano trio for six tracks, stretches out with Brian Sandstrom and Rusty Jones for four, and paints the title track as a soulful, cryin’ in your beer, unaccompanied blues wail.

Portolese’s guitar tone is different. Neil Tesser points out in the album’s liner notes that this guitar was constructed in 1965 by Bill Barker. The Barker guitar gives Portolese a light, but edgy sound. ...



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