John Basile: Time Will Reveal (2007)
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Set aside, for a moment, the classic venues like the Montreux Jazz Festival and to truly appreciate jazz you have to understand it's not a form of music that was ever intended to be heard in the great outdoors and in football stadiums. To truly groove on jazz it should be listened to indoors. Preferably, in concert halls with superb acoustics and cozy clubs where the musicians can not only be seen, but heard.
Which is where guys like John Basile comes in.
It's not likely Basile is ever going to fill stadiums with thousands of rabidly enthusiastic fans who have traveled for miles and camped out for days just to hear the Boston-based guitarist play. That kind of mass hysteria is limited to dinosaur rock bands like The Rolling Stones lumbering through "Jumpin' Jack Flash" for the umpteenth time. Jazz thrives in the quiet, not the loud and so does John Basile. He plays in a smaller league where bombast and big sound is neither expected nor enjoyed. Basile is part of the overlooked and unappreciated group of pros going about the serious business of keeping the idiom alive.
Basile's Time Will Reveal is a showcase for his deft and melodic guitar playing as he's supported by a group of savvy sidemen tight as a drumhead and a perfect compliment to his sensitive and supple performance on 11 compositions.
Basile and producer/bassist David Finck selected songs for Time Will Reveal that will instantly be familiar to anyone who listened to AM or FM radio from the '50s through to the '80s. In some ways when a musician covers well-known pop hits like The 5th Dimension's "Up, Up and Away" or The Isley Brothers "For the Love of You" they are opening themselves up to be compared unfavorably to the original. The listener who is familiar with the song being covered comes to the table with a certain anticipation of how faithful to the original the new interpretation should be. Too often producers treat covering pop tunes as an exercise for bored musicians to warm up over before tackling the "serious" music.
Wisely, Finck's production avoids the trap of slavishly trying to recreate, note-by-note, Benny Golson's classic "Killer Joe," made popular by Quincy Jones and Duke Jordan's "Jordu," or suffocating the songs under a glob of strings, synthesizers, background vocals or lumbering solos. The music here is traditional jazz with the arrangements featuring acoustic instruments (drums, bass, vibes, piano) and Basile's genial guitar at the center. It's a delight to hear musicians respect the original material instead of trying to radically reinvent it.
Time Will Reveal offers a fine showcase of Basile's facile and flowing guitar style and a tastefully restrained group of musicians playing expressively without embellishment. It's the kind of album that keeps sneaking back into your CD player.
Track Listing: Up Up and Away; Killer Joe; La Samba; Betcha By Golly Wow; Morning; Time Will Reveal; Superstar; Groovin'; Jordu; For the Love of You; Mambo Inn.
Personnel: John Basile: guitars; David Finck: bass; Clint DeGanon: drums; Roger Squitero: percussion; Joe Locke: vibes; Bill O'Connell: piano; Barry Danielian: trumpet; Bob Mallach: tenor saxophone; Byron Olsen: piano (10); Jeff Kievit: trumpet (6).
Record Label: Underhill Jazz