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Dan Arcamone: Psalm

Mark Sullivan By

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A fusion guitar album with a difference: Connecticut guitarist/composer Dan Arcamone wrote pieces based on some of saxophonist John Coltrane's most complex chord progressions ("Giant Steps," "Countdown," "Satellite," and "26-2")—all dating from his Atlantic Records period, and sometimes called "Coltrane changes." He and his trio (bassist Panagiotis Andreou and drummer Steve Pruitt) then treated them as if they were open, modal tunes. The resulting music has the spiritual tone of an album like Coltrane's A Love Supreme (Impulse!, 1965), but with a more complex harmonic base.

"Psalm, Pt. One" begins the set with one of the fast, knotty chord progressions, initially played chord-melody style with a clean tone—setting the pace for the rest of the album. Arcamone begins his solo with rippling arpeggios played with a contrasting over-driven sound. Then he introduces an overdubbed rhythm part, which eventually leads back into the theme. After a dramatic stop, lead and accompaniment guitars take it home. The whole thing is quite a workout for the rhythm section (especially Pruitt's drumming), as they never stop pushing forward.

"Psalm, Pt. Two" gives Andreou's bass the first solo; he contributes another lyrical turn in Pt. Three. Pruitt's drumming plays an active role throughout the set, but Pt. Four finally gives him some solo space, with interspersed accompaniment from the rest of the trio. But wait, there's more. The album concludes with an unexpected coda, a hidden track introduced by chiming percussion sounds.

It is unusual to hear saxophonists attempt to emulate Coltrane's famous "sheets of sound" approach, and even rarer to hear a guitarist dare to try it. Arcamone's liquid legato lines are remarkable, even reminiscent of virtuoso guitarist Allan Holdsworth.

Track Listing: Psalm, Pt. One; Psalm, Pt. Two; Psalm, Pt. Three; Psalm, Pt. Four.

Personnel: Dan Arcamone: guitar, Panagiotis Andreou: bass, Steve Pruitt: drums.

Title: Psalm | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: ARC - Artists Recording Collective

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