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Frank Gambale: Raison D'etre

Dan McClenaghan By

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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 disc—which I suppose falls into the fusion category—is a minor classic; and Gambale's contribution—borne out by a fresh listen with more experienced ears—is 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

Personnel: Frank Gambale

Title: Raison D'etre | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Wombat

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