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Paul Bollenback: Portraits In Space And Time

Dan Bilawsky By

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Guitarist Paul Bollenback is valued by listeners and musicians alike for his incisive and inventive guitar work, wholly in the tradition while simultaneously branching out beyond the same old same old. His playing has been a key ingredient—in some cases, the key ingredient—in much of organ kingpin Joey DeFrancesco's recorded output, saxophonist Jim Snidero's highly praised Savant dates, vocalist Chris McNulty's post-millennial releases, and elsewhere, but it's his own albums that truly provide a full picture of his talent(s). Bollenback doesn't subscribe to the churn-out-an-album-per-year philosophy, and he's never had to since he's remained extremely busy as a sideman and educator, so he makes each and every record count; this one, for example, comes seven years after his previous album—Invocation (Elefant Dreams, 2007)—and it's a doozy.

Portraits In Space And Time finds Bollenback in the company of bassist Joseph Lepore and drummer/percussionist Rogerio Boccato, spinning out everything from starry night music to Brazilian-tinged constructs. High-level communication is on display throughout, whether these three are delivering sophisticated sounds of the wild ("Jungle"), a winner in five ("Little Island"), a light touch John Scofield-ish jam number ("Open Hand"), or a slow moving waltz ("3 Days"). There's plenty of life and lift in this music ("Homecoming"), but it's sensitivity and a gentle(r) bearing that carry the day; background-foreground alternation between Bollenback and Lepore, the delightfully deft drumming of Boccato, and the marriage of all three personalities make the ears stand up and take notice.

Hints of everybody from Bill Frisell to John Abercrombie to Jim Hall to Vinicius Cantuaria come out at times in Bollenback's playing, but his work is never really derivative; it's simply in tune with so many different aspects of jazz language(s), so there's bound to be some crossover in vocabulary. Add to that the taut and focused bass work of Lepore and the inimitable drumming of Boccato and you have something truly special: three who play as one, listening, moving, and creating with the spirit of cooperation.

Track Listing

Calling The Spirits; Homecoming; 3 Days; Collective; Sunset; Jungle; Little Island; Bird In The Sky; Open Hand; Dance Delicious; Joseph; Dance Of Hands; Lights; Swingin' At Capones.

Personnel

Paul Bollenback: electric guitar, acoustic guitar; Joseph Lepore: bass; Rogerio Boccato: drums, percussion.

Album information

Title: Portraits In Space And Time | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Mayimba Music

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