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It takes confidence to title a debut release with a series of unpronounceable punctuations but guitarist/composer Robb Cappelletto does just that with !!!. Cappelletto's Toronto- based trio tackles a variety of styles from blues-rock to hard bop and ballads. Within each style they demonstrate an expert ability to negotiate some complex pieces in untraditional ways and, in the process, create a fresh sound. Eight of the ten compositions on !!! were penned by Cappelletto.
"Scare Tactics" open the set and is very much at home in the rock category. Drummerand Cuban nativeAmhed Mitchell supplies the appropriate propulsion while Cappelletto jumps to a quick burn; his playing is aggressive without being weighed down by excessive technique. Bassist Jon Maharaj solos in the lower register and returns intermittently keeping the tempo from flying out the window. The somewhat more moderately paced "Gotham" captures the mysterious feel of the city at night, emphasized by little stabs of apprehension conveyed in bursts from Cappelletto. Mitchell accentuates the tension as he creates the feeling of a hasty escape.
The cover of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Corcovado" changes the pace, settling into samba beat early on but eventually giving way to a more driving jazz-rock rhythm. In these more moderate tempo pieces, Cappelletto's playing is reminiscent of Carlos Santana's work on Caravanserai (Columbia, 1972). The !!! personnel lineup is augmented on two numbers; "There Are Monsters Here" features Hungarian native Robi Botos on the Fender Rhodes and "Shifting Morality" adds saxophonist Daniel Easty. Botos and Easty are fine compliments to the group and add welcome diversity to the guitar trio format.
Cappelletto's group works multiple genres side by side, often spanning borders to keep within a jazz idiom. The musicianship of the trio is top-shelf; the players are self-assured and their synergy belies a debut effort. The interplay between the players reveals both responsiveness and uniqueness and Cappelletto's compositions combine tuneful hooks and unpredictable timing setting many of the pieces on an angular course. This group and these individual musicians have the potential to make significant impact and are well worth watching and !!! is loaded with the kind of energy that warrants repeated listening.
Track Listing: Scare Tactics; Gotham; Corcovado; Get There; It's All Right With Me; !!!; There Are Monsters Here; Shifting Morality; Sunsetter; Clean Slate.
Personnel: Robb Cappelletto: guitar; Jon Maharaj: bass; Amhed Mitchell: drums; Robi Botos: Fender Rhodes (7); Daniel Easty: saxophone (8).