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Review of Joe Ercole's "Exposed"


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Upon starting piano at the age of nine, it was clear that Joe Ercole was no ordinary talent.

He studied at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore on a scholarship and then went on to gain distinction as a summa cum laude graduate from Berklee in Boston. He spent some time writing scores for film, TV, and radio while additionally gaining recognition for his original compositions that were used in national ad campaigns.

After recording a pair of projects, which included a techno effort and his smooth jazz debut, Ercole went on to gain some measure of fame as a founding member of the hip & funky band known as Bona Fide, voted best new smooth jazz group at the 2001 Oasis Award.

Having immersed himself in the music of the countries of the Middle East for the past several years, Ercole has now fused many contrasting elements into his latest ‘oeuvre’ that may well toss the contemporary scene onto its head!!

With themes that range from refined, cinematic, and smooth to techno, Arabic, and full out funk-fests, Ercole entitled this artistic ‘mlange’ Exposed! Exhibiting musicianship & playing of the highest calibre thruout, on this endeavour the now Atlanta-based keyboardist whisks us away to many a distant place.

Personal highlights include the almost title track in the Arabian-house-enhanced tune called Exposure. Other standout selections include the somewhat Bona Fide reminiscent thumping beat of the organ-ic Master Suite, the free for all festivities of Babaloop, and the trance-inducing chants in Hypnotize.

The cut Oasis is a rather obvious smooth choice not only for its melodious content but also for its allusive name, while Ercole explores the softer side of his multi-faceted style with the tranquil lullaby of Mc Bear and the gentle caress of Greatest Love. Running a gamut of tempos and textures from delicate to insistent, on this most recent release, Joe Ercole is indeed Exposed as the diverse and major jazz-talent that he is!!

~ Ted Hasiuk, Cafe Jazz

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