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Eleonora Strino: I Got Strings

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Eleonora Strino: I Got Strings
There comes a before-and-after moment in any jazz musician's career with their first album as a leader. For Neapolitan guitarist Elenora Strino, I Got Strings marks a transition of sorts, from band member on the projects of pianist Dado Moroni and saxophonist Emanuele Cisi, to headline grabber in her own right. In fairness, Strino has led her own trios since 2016, but it usually takes the solid currency of one's own album to make the wider world sit up and take notice. With her wonderful interpretations of time-honored jazz standards, Strino seems set to do just that.

Strino has been something of a rising star since Tres Palabras (Apogeo Records, 2014) with polyglot bassist Greg Cohen and drummer Massimo del Pezzo. Since then, she has toured far and wide, with a 2022 Great Guitars concert with Martin Taylor and Ulf Wakenius in her hometown a major highlight. Cohen, with whom Strino has played many concerts featuring Thelonious Monk's arrangements of Duke Ellington, is once again on board, with Joey Baron rounding out a stellar trio.

Three such Ellington tunes form the backbone of the album. On the playful "I Let a Song Go Out of my Heart" Strino channels the spirit of Monk with her dancing chordal rhythms, buoyed by Cohen and Baron's irresistible swing. On the brushes-steered "I Got it Bad and that Ain't Good" and the bustling "It Don't Mean a Thing," Strino juggles bright harmonics and fleet-fingered lines. The guitarist really cuts loose on a steamy version of "I Got Rhythm," unleashing flowing bebop lines—tempered by deft harmonic voicings—over driving rhythms.

It is on the slower fare, however, that Strino's class really shines through. Exquisite renderings of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "Il Postino"—the theme to Massimo Troisi's garlanded film of the same name—showcase a musician of uncommon sensitivity. Her solo on the latter, which balances economy and flare, is a peach. Strino tips her hat to another Neapolitan with a tender reading of Bruno Martino's jazz standard "Estate," crowned with a final, shimmering jewel of a solo.

There is a live, in-the-moment feel to these performances that stems from the spontaneous nature of the recording session—mostly single takes, in a single day and without overdubs. In many ways, I Got Strings is a throwback to the jazz of yore.

But while Strino is a traditionalist at heart, she is also an original voice who has transcended her influences, which is no small feat in such familiar language and stylistic terrain. Strino counts her blessings to play with two masters such as Cohen and Baron. But as this fine album demonstrates at every turn, in such company the Neapolitan guitarist well and truly belongs.

Track Listing

I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart; Somewhere Over The Rainbow; I Got Rhythm; Il Postino; I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good; It Don’t Mean A Thing; Estate.

Personnel

Greg Cohen
bass, acoustic

Album information

Title: I Got Strings | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: CAM Jazz


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