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When Frank Gambale discovered a new tuning for the guitar by which he could get piano harmonies that were not previously possible, he patented it as “Nouveau Tuning.” This new tuning does open up the guitar; the voicing is brighter and brings in a nice enough harmonic touch. He uses a double-neck Yamaha guitar that gives him both his Nouveau Tuning and the ambit of a regular guitar.
Gambale divides his time between nods to rock and music that falls under the catch-all phrase of contemporary jazz. The latter sits pretty on tunes like “Table For One,” which flows, well, smoothly, with nary a ripple. The tone he pulls is interesting but the absence of depth makes this one waft by, even when he goes for the other neck and rips loose some bent rock notes with a subtle hint of the blues.
A more interesting tack comes on “May the Fourths Be With You,” the melody more distinct, with Ric Fierabracci accenting on bass and Gambale showing a familiarity with jazz harmonies, a trait he extends to “Monkey Wrench.” However, while he does show that he has enough technique, the creative charter is at best merely serviceable, reclining as it does in cotton candy land.
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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