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Guitar Duets: Jay Geils-Gerry Beaudoin, Tom Wolfe/Gene Bertoncini, Bucky Pizzarelli/John Pizzarelli

Andrew Velez By

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Jay Geils/Gerry Beaudoin
The Kings of Strings (feat. Aaron Weinstein)
Arbors
2007


Tom Wolfe/Gene Bertoncini
Floating on the Silence
Summit
2007


Bucky Pizzarelli/John Pizzarelli
Generations
Arbors
2007




Guitars and fiddle sounds as fun as these inevitably are happy reminders of the great Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli duets, most especially on the Hot Club classic "Minor Swing . For The Kings of Strings, teenage fiddle phenomenon Aaron Weinstein joins with guitarists Jay Geils, famously chieftain of the rock 'n rolling J. Geils Band and Grammy- nominated Gerry Beaudoin to amble amiably through an eclectic set of pop and Swing Era classics plus some original blues and bop blues thrown in for good measure.

Typically tasty is the quintet's take on "The Flat Foot Floogie ; the ballroom's totally rocking with a long Weinstein riff followed by both Geils and Weinstein mixing it up with super caliente licks. Beaudoin's samba-like take on his own "Jackie's Serenade makes for an undulating, romantic mood and a total change of pace.

The title of Floating on the Silence comes from Gene Lees' lyrics for Antonio Carlos Jobim's tune "Corcovado . The gentleness of his words — "...quiet chords from my guitar...floating on the silence that surrounds us — serves as an aptly poetic description of the guitar duo of Gene Bertoncini and his longtime cohort Tom Wolfe.

When it's only two making all the music the presence or absence of chemistry is immediately evident. The pair's unhurried approach allows the listener to be privy to a conversation in which each player listens and supports the other melodically and harmonically, eschewing pyrotechnics in favor of playing only as many notes as are needed.

Here's more guitar heaven on earth, The Pizzarellis, papa Bucky on his seven-string guitar and son John, long may they wave. "Graham Avenue Stroll is a particularly piquant elder Pizzarelli original, a salute to Bucky's parents in which father and son amiably trade licks. Each of the tunes has some personal significance: There's a totally jumping rendition of "Avalon , recalling their friend and sometime musical cohort Benny Goodman, and a pleasantly pungent take on "Rose Room , which recalls the elder Pizzarelli's celebrated partnership with fellow guitarist George Barnes.

As much as Generations is a tribute to other musicians and to family, this is no mere ramble down memory lane. Their reading of Mercer, Burke & Hampton's "Midnight Sun evokes all the meditative beauty of that gem, the sort of performance that draws a sigh of satisfaction when it's over and for which the repeat button was invented. This is happy jazz, straightforward and absolutely accessible from pros that know what they're doing. Keep it coming, Pizzarellis.


Tracks and Personnel

Kings of String Featuring Aaron Weinstein

Tracks: Desert Sands; In A Mellow Tone; Rose Room; Out of Nowhere; Blue Benedetto; Here's That Rainy Day; Minor Swing; I Thought About You; Take the A Train; Sweet One; The Flat Foot Floogie; Jackie's Serenade; Sweet Georgia Brown; All Blues.

Personnel: Gerry Beaudoin: guitar; Jay Geils: guitar; Aaron Weinstein: violin; mandolin; Bob Nieske: bass; Lee Harris,Jr.: drums.

Floating On The Silence

Tracks: On A Misty Night; I'll Remember April; Corcovado; For My Lady; For Chet; Con Alma; The Nearness of You; A Moment Alone; How Insensitive; Like Someone In Love.

Personnel: Tom Wolfe: guitar; Gene Bertoncini: guitar.

Generations

Tracks: Fred; Polka Dots and Moonbeams; Rose Room; Midnight Sun; A Sleepin' Bee; At Sundown; I'll Remember April; The Second Movement of Sonatina; Darn That Dream; Avalon; Early Autumn; Graham Avenue Stroll; How Long Has This Been Going On; The Way You Look Tonight; Variation and Fuge #9 on "La Folia".

Personnel: Bucky and John Pizzarelli: guitars.


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