434

Frank Gambale: Natural Selection

Jack Huntley By

Sign in to view read count
Frank Gambale: Natural Selection Frank Gambale, early Guitar Institute of Technology (GIT) whiz-kid and longtime guitarist in the Chick Corea Elektric Band, is known for his sweep- picking technique, fretboard virtuosity, and penchant for fusion jazz. But with his 2006 outing, Natural High (Wombat Records), and now 2010's Natural Selection, Gambale has shown off a more straight-ahead style that wonderfully couples his technical artistry with a focused, melodic swing.

Aided on Natural Selection by the superb pianist, Otmaro Ruiz, and the equally interesting Alain Caron on bass, this trio really cooks, flexing its improvisational muscles on extended solos that show off not only individual players' harmonic creativity but the dynamic interplay between soloist and backing unit. The opening track, "Teaser," is chock-full of tasty solos and precision artistry while never losing the pulsing rhythm.

On the tracks like "Smog Eyes" and "In From Somewhere" (yes, a play on the Green/Heyman standard "Out of Nowhere") there is a nod to the sounds of classic '50s guitarists like Tal Farlow. Maybe it's Gambale's crisp, rapid lines, maybe it's the comping styles in the drummer-less format, maybe the upbeat and open arrangements, but taken together these tracks feel pleasingly reminiscent of that classic sound. And Gambale really stretches out on these tracks with moving, imaginative solos.

Especially interesting on these tunes is Ruiz's assertive piano. His solos incorporate an endless creative energy. And Caron's bass masterfully carries the weight of the trios rhythmic structure throughout this album but particularly shines on the upbeat tracks. Additionally, the trio moves into the smooth jazz realm on tracks like "Gioa" and "Gambashwari," both of which incorporate a light percussion and more world-music vibe. Although these tunes are well done, they sometimes teeter close to dissipating the energy created on the more upbeat numbers.

Taken as a whole, Natural Selection covers a varied musical territory but really excels on the more straight-ahead, classic-sounding tracks. Throughout, though, the musicianship is wonderful and the soloists are always interesting. Gambale's style is marvelously flexible in the driving swing on most of this CD and in being so, adds a more melodic sensibility. The Darwinian album title is apt as Gambale's stylistic variations more than survive the musical environment of this album—they thrive.


Track Listing: Teaser; Smog Eyes; Tones For Chick's Bones; In From Somewhere; Gioia; Good Morning Sunshine; Samba Di Somewhere; Natural Selection; Gambashwari.

Personnel: Frank Gambale: guitar; Alain Caron: bass; Otmaro Ruiz: piano.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Wombat | Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Gorgeous Chaos" CD/LP/Track Review Gorgeous Chaos
by James Nadal
Published: May 2, 2016
Read "Of Earth And Sky" CD/LP/Track Review Of Earth And Sky
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 23, 2016
Read "Mac Gollehon & The Hispanic Mechanics" CD/LP/Track Review Mac Gollehon & The Hispanic Mechanics
by Paul Naser
Published: May 2, 2016
Read "Meeting At The Parting Place" CD/LP/Track Review Meeting At The Parting Place
by Dave Wayne
Published: October 1, 2016
Read "Tuesday Prayers" CD/LP/Track Review Tuesday Prayers
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 29, 2016
Read "Ena / One" CD/LP/Track Review Ena / One
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 26, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!