Guitarist Joe Diorio is one of those excellent jazz musicians who, regrettably, seem permanently assigned to the "artists deserving wider recognition" category. Performing for more than 30 years, Diorio has worked and/or recorded with some of jazz's more outstanding performers, including Sonny Stitt, Eddie Harris and Bill Henderson. He also has produced a full discography of his own recordings as a leader. His latest captures the guitarist in live performance in his usual stalking grounds, Southern California, where he is joined by his regular trio members, jazz notables Bob Magnusson on bass and Jim Plank on drums. As he likes to do, he has constructed a play list of well-known standards which are given a thorough work over coming out with a fresh coat of gleaming musicality.
Diorio has a guitar sound that's immediately recognizable after just a few chords. He has the ability to make his music appear as if it is going in two different directions at the same time. This is what he calls scalar lines, a concept explained in his instruction book. Diorio is also equally at home with mainstream and avant-garde jazz. One gets a taste of the latter on the well worn and oft performed, "Lover Man" which is given a 14 + minute harmonic analysis by the trio. The playing on this piece by the group is extraordinarily expressive, revealing a mutual empathy that comes with their long time association. The opening of "Corcovado" leaves the listener trying to anticipate which way the group is going to take this song. The mystery is solved as they delve passionately into and exhaust the many improvisational possibilities of the Jobim masterpiece. It's hard to imagine there are any avenues left to explore here. The rest of the play list is treated to similar rhythmic and rich harmonic invention. This is an excellent album and is highly recommended.
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