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Ricardo Grilli: 1954

Jerome Wilson By

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Ricardo Grilli is a New York-based guitarist whose music is a gentle blend of jazz and progressive rock. He leads a quartet of accomplished musicians who know how to alternately be calm and spacious or rhythmic and grooving. On the calmer side "Rings" has a quietly throbbing beat and mellow texture set up by Joe Martin's bass and Eric Harland's simple drum patterns and "Breathe" is much the same but with a Latin tinge to the rhythm and delicate, lively piano by Aaron Parks. Grilli, for his part, fits into the group identity instead of dominating and distinguishes himself with his lyrical and poignant playing on "Cosmonauts."

When the rhythms are faster, a quiet intensity builds. "Pogo56" has a similar melody to "Breathe" but is done at a quicker, jazz based tempo that gives the group more space to loosen up and "Arcturus" is a fast-paced showcase for Grilli's wilder instincts that also allows Harland to cut loose with crashing force. "Radiance" has a hammering rock rhythm and heavy guitar sound that brings instrumental rock bands like Sigur Ros or Mogwai to mind while "Vertigo" is even heavier jazz-rock with big wailing guitar heroics contrasting nicely with Parks' sparkling and insinuating piano lines. Pure jazz shows up on "Far Away Shores" in an intense guitar-piano dialogue powered by Harland's superb drumming and the closing track, "Pulse" which has everyone flying along to a "Giant Steps"-like tempo, Grilli sounding as fast and slick as Pat Martino and Martin taking a rare, high-flying solo.

This is a fine example of four distinctive musicians fitting together well to make fine music. Grilli is a very capable guitarist and he mixes very well with the flash and power of his comrades.

Track Listing: Arcturus; Breathe; Pogo56; Radiance; Rings; Far Away Shores; Cosmonauts; Vertigo; Pulse.

Personnel: Ricardo Grilli: guitars; Aaron Parks: piano; Joe Martin: bass; Eric Harland: drums.

Title: 1954 | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Tone Rogue Records

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