Guitarist Paul Bollenback is valued by listeners and musicians alike for his incisive and inventive guitar work, wholly in the tradition while simultaneously branching out beyond the same old same old. His playing has been a key ingredient--in some cases, the key ingredient--in much of organ kingpin Joey DeFrancesco's recorded output, saxophonist Jim Snidero's highly praised Savant dates, vocalist Chris McNulty's post-millennial releases, and elsewhere, but it's his own albums that truly provide a full picture of his talent(s). Bollenback doesn't subscribe to the churn-out-an-album-per-year philosophy, and he's never had to since he's remained extremely busy as a sideman and ...read more
Journeyman guitarist Paul Bollenback's Invocation is just that: a shout-out and a summoning forth of the muses, representing a high point in a consistent and substantial oeuvre. This sophomore release for Elefant Dreams is a departure from the guitarist's R&B cover-heavy material found on several of his five earlier recordings for Challenge. Like Brightness of Being (2006), its immediate predecessor, Invocation features the wordless vocalese of Chris McNulty, who doubles the melody on Alter Ego" and harmonizes with trumpet and guitar on the first section of the title track; more importantly, it juxtaposes trumpeter Randy Brecker as musical foil and ...read more
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 ...read more
Guitarist Paul Bollenback, who spent sixteen years backing organ great Joey DeFrancesco in concert and on CD, has some serious chops. Reviews of his previous CD release, Brightness of Being (Elephant Dreams, 2005), heaped praises on his technical prowess. On Invocation those chops are in fine form once again--the richly layered harmonies, the fluidly inventive intensity of his soloing, the accessible braininess of his compositions. Also apparent is Bollenback's finely honed, expansive Metheny-esque artistic vision.Bollenback brings in trumpeter Randy Brecker this time around, as well as vocalist Chris McNulty, to help craft his artistry. On parts one and ...read more
When you think of jazz guitarists who have been influential since the '80s, names like Bill Frisell, John Scofield and Pat Metheny come to mind. Steve Khan and Paul Bollenback may not be as recognizable, but they're equally talented. Their new releases affirm why. Paul Bollenback Brightness of Being Elefant Dreams 2006
The music press is full of hype about the latest hot musicians, but many veterans can still spark new fires. Such is the case with guitarist Paul Bollenback. He's been a key performer for over fifteen years, enhancing the ...read more
Good music is where you find it, and breadth of stylistic interest needn't dilute a distinguishable voice. Like Bill Frisell's East/West (Nonesuch, 2005), guitarist Paul Bollenback's Brightness of Being brings these points home most effectively. While Bollenback and Vic Juris are two very different players (Bollenbeck is also younger), both remain sadly underappreciated, despite their ability to elevate every project into something special. Looking at Bollenback's substantial catalogue of recorded work, one can find the same pattern emerging--which is really a distinct lack of pattern.
While unequivocally mainstream, Brightness of Being is no retro relic. There's nary a standard to ...read more
Jazz guitar fans will not be disappointed by Brightness of Being, an offering of rich harmonics and octave-based solos in a collection of originals, covers of Stevie Wonder and Neil Young, adaptations from Puccini and Garcia de Leon, and a couple of songs immortalized by Ray Charles. The original Together finds Bollenback on acoustic guitar and Chris McNulty delivering wordless vocals. This soulful tune has a certain Brazilian feel, without exactly going into bossa nova territory. On Ray Charles' You Don't Know Me, Bollenback makes you feel the melancholy of the song's words through his fingers. David ...read more