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I have to admit that I lost track of guitarist Frank Gambale over the years. His sound jumped out at me for the first time on the Chick Corea Elektric Band's Inside Out (GRP Records, '90). That discwhich I suppose falls into the fusion categoryis a minor classic; and Gambale's contributionborne out by a fresh listen with more experienced earsis considerable, especially in the harmonics department. Which makes Raison D'être all the more intriguing, since the guitarist has taken his keyboard-like chording into uncharted territory with his patented Nouveau Tuning.
I can't say I understand the technicalities; perhaps only Frank Gambale does; but the sound is fresh and luminous, always shimmerings and clean in front of Bill Cobham's distinctively vibrant precision drum work. Gambale employs both his new tuning and the traditional one, painting a keyboard/synthesizer-like glow behind his always crisp soloing. Several of the pieces on this new set have the lush, full sound, rendered by the two guitar tunings, with just bass and drum accompaniment, for a sort of beautifully back to basics fusion sound.
I haven't paid attention to Frank Gambale for the past decade and a half, but Raison D'être tells me I missed out on some good sounds along the way.
Track Listing: Part I: Foreign Country; Cachination; Bittersweet; Table For One; Debut Solo; Melodique; Two Minutes B.C.; Kaanapali; Part II: May the Fourths be With You; Monkey Wrench; Smug; Complex Emotions
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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