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Guitarist Jimmy Bruno, known for his flawless bop guitar, spreads himself in many directions for his latest disc, a seventh for Concord records. The Philadelphia native's adventure on Midnight Blue takes him from modal jazz to jazz-funk and soul, in other words, a 21st century 'back to the future.'
This session, recorded with an all-Philly lineup, may ruffle the traditionalist a bit with Bruno's heavy nod towards the Mister magic days of Grover Washington Jr. and all its soulful spin-offs. But given the level of talent Bruno possesses, he maintains a high standard of musicianship throughout. Inspired by drummer Marc Dicciani and bassist Gerald Veasley's love of funk, this recording session steers through the Philadelphia streets of modern jazz. The disc opens with an electrified version of "Secret Love, both Bruno and Veasley upping the energy. They segue into a groove-oriented "Funk 'n Benny with saxophonist Ron Kerber doing his best Grover Washington Jr. imitation over the electric keyboards of Dave Hartl and Bruno's post-70s rhythm guitar. If they haven't scared Bruno's traditional fans off by the third track, he blows an all-out speed and muscular attack on "Hypertension matching wits and nerve with each sideman. Bruno's clean playing remains throughout. He summons the retro-sounds of the Fender Rhodes piano for "Philly Joe, a dedication to Mr. Jones in a Quincy Jones-styled "Killer Joe seventies sound.
Bruno's walk down the sounds of yesteryear takes him through New Orleans and the shuffle beats of "Fat Tuesday to John Coltrane's (another Philadelphia resident) "Impressions. The band takes on the Trane classic with a turbo-charged drive that transforms it into a dance number, Dave Hartl dancing on the keyboard ala Don Pullen.
Bruno doesn't neglect his hard core fan base here with a couple straight versions of jazz classics "Stella By Starlight and "Perdido. Except for Veasley's electric bass, which neither distracts or detracts from this presentation, the nearly straight-ahead covers complete Bruno's tour of all-things-jazz guitar.
Track Listing: Secret Love; Funk 'n Benny; Hypertension; Shades Of Grey; Into The Blue Light; Philly Joe; Midnight Blue; Fat Tuesday; First Dance; Perdido; Stella By Starlight.
Personnel: Jimmy Bruno: Guitar; Marc Dicciani: Drums; Dave Hartl: Piano, Fender Rhodes, Hammond B-3 Organ; Ron Kerber: Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone; Gerald Veasley: Six-String Electric Bass.
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me. If we don't run a review, Alligator Records is going to stop servicing us.
Night Flight opened up a whole new world for me--the blues led me, inevitably, to Basie, who led to Duke, who led to Mingus, who led to Miles, who led to ...