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Looking Forward or Looking Back – “It’s all good”, with the right perspective.
Straight-ahead jazz styles such as Hard Bop may prove a little too deep for jazz neophytes who have not had a chance to appreciate the art form, while the commercialism of some smooth jazz efforts makes purists cringe with blatant disregard. But when you take a highly skilled artist who can create music that appreciates the past, has a modern outlook, and is capable of producing exceptional music; then you have a recording such as guitarist Carl Filipiak’s Looking back and Looking Ahead.
Carl Filipiak’s is one serious cat. With great sound, a dynamic style, and killer chops, his guitar wizardry brings to mind a few influences that range from Wes Montgomey, to Larry Carlton. A highly acclaimed guitarist in the Baltimore-Washington area, Filipiak is musician that should be recognized even further. With the skill to play in various modes and styles, his playing speaks for itself on the new recording.
Looking back and Looking Ahead. consists of five originals and four classics. They are all worthy of attention and combine the essence of a modern musician who has not forgotten the past. He respectfully and artfully handles selections by greats John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, and Milton Nascimento, with utter resolve. Trane’s “Giants Steps” is nicely redone at a hipper and slower tempo, while Bird’s “Au Privave” is just flat out funky, with nice horn and rhythm work from the band members. Mingus’ ever soulful “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” is a continuing thing of beauty with heartfelt sax- work from Paul Soroka. The band is extremely tight with Filipiak and Soroka handling the lions-share of excellent soloing, but it’s the solid rhythm section of Jay Dulaney and John Thomakos that bonds it together. Renowned drummer, Dennis Chambers appears as a guest on three selections. Filipiak’s compositional skills are to be noted as well on selections “One For Wes” and the melodious “I’m only Dreaming”.
From the cool to the ultra hip, and then to flat out swing, or blues. Take your pick. Filipiaks chord progressions are vibrant and his guitar solos pour out like liquid on “Vera Cruz” and the swinging original “Chasin’ The Checkbook.” With a versatile band that’s at the top of their game and a guitar virtuoso at the helm, this is a recording that can make jazz fans of any caliber enjoy the music.
I was first exposed to jazz as a middle school band student. A college ensemble passed through and put on a concert for the band students (of which I was one). The level of mastery and musicianship blew me away, intimidated, and inspired me
I was first exposed to jazz as a middle school band student. A college ensemble passed through and put on a concert for the band students (of which I was one). The level of mastery and musicianship blew me away, intimidated, and inspired me. Try as I might, I was never able to achieve a high enough level of competency to perform at the level I was first and subsequently exposed to. Regardless, I was hooked on jazz and remain so to this day.