How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Andy Rothstein has been playing the guitar for twenty-five years, as a sideman in rock bands and as leader of Mary's Magnet. His current perspective, however, captures a wider range as he brings in rock, country and Latin music to his beat.
Rothstein's aim is well served. His dexterity and technique on the guitar blood the tunes. He lets melodies fly out and open and when he gets into the thicker textures, he uses feedback and chunky chords to coil and strike. But Rothstein also plays the acoustic guitar with a great measure of sensitivity seen to advantage on "#1. The country song slides in on the guitar and Link's vocals. The lyrics are wrapped in the sentiment that marks country music, but Link keeps it from being maudlin with his phrasing. Rothstein adds the icing with his melodic interludes before he switches to the electric guitar, adds rock riffs and takes the tune out.
Rothstein assimilates jazz, rock and even a lick of funk on "Brain Power. The arrangement is interesting, letting the elements sidle against each other and reverberate positively. Rothstein stays firmly in the groove whether it is rock or heavy metal, making the transition with facile ease.
Giant Steps gives the band the leeway to improvise. Rothstein shows enough creativity to keep it interesting as he nudges the boundaries and then delves back to the melody. The drum programming is another thing altogether, being not very perspicacious to the needs of the composition. Rothstein wanted to keep the music on this recording pure and simple within the larger framework of fusion. In this he succeeds well enough.
Track Listing: Brain Power; If Not Now, Then When; Voodoo tone; #1; Retro Fuso; Absinthe; Mojito; Giant Steps.
Personnel: Andy Rothstein: electric and acoustic guitars; Tony Senatore: bass; Lou Petto: drums; Link: vocals (2, 4); Tom Timko: alto, tenor and baritone saxophones (1, 7); Steve Jankowski: trumpet (1, 7); Bob Nelson: keyboards (8); Frank Fagnano: organ (4, 6); Tom Gioia: drum programming (8): Vinnie Zummo: rhythm instruments on track 8.