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Based on what's happened so far, the beginnings of the 21st Century might be called the era of new good guitar players. Over the last couple of years, there have been many coming onto the jazz scene, and even some veterans such as Joe Diorio reemerging. They represent all kinds of jazz genre and style, from straight ahead jazz, swing and, in the case of Joe Finn, modern guitar offerings. Finn is a Hartford, CT native and now makes his residential and performing homes, in upstate New York. For his third album, Blue Tomorrow he reaffirms his position as a player of modern jazz with compositions by Steve Swallow, Dave Brubeck, Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock and others who have led the music into the modern epoch. But, Finn has a special way of taking on this music. Like modern guitar pioneer Wes Montgomery, Finn brings out the up-to-date elements of music without ever losing contact with the listener. The music stays lyrical and melodic, intelligent and pensive, never becoming discordant or unpleasing to the ear. In fact, if anything, his playing on such cuts as his own "Blue Tomorrow" is understated, leaving whatever punctuating that needs to be inserted to his drummer, Sam Zucchini. There's a distinct, but again not overdone, Caribbean tint to Tony Williams' lilting "Sister Cheryl". Of all the tunes selected for the set, the ones by Steve Swallow bring out Finn's improvisational proclivities. Swallow is known for his ability to weave rock elements into jazz. Finn pays a lot more attention to Swallow's jazz side, making the music sound less harsh and more appealable that when heard by other players in different circumstances. Jazz is jazz and rock is rock.
Finn tends to play very fast. Yet one manages to hear chordal nuance, every extemporaneous expression, all within a musical setting that makes some sense. If we awarded stars, this album would get five. Visit Finn at his web site at www.joefinn.com>
Track Listing: Muddy in the Bank; Birk's Works; In Your Own Sweet Way; ESP; Wrong Together; Rhythm-a-Ning; Early Maria; Sister Cheryl; Up Jumped Spring; Lucky Southern; Blue Tomorrow; Dolphin Dance; Union Pacific
Personnel: Joe Finn - Guitar/Leader; Sam Zucchini - Bass; Scott Bassinson - Piano; Mike Wicks - Bass
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.