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Quite obviously, Giuseppe Continenza loves the guitar. His first recording, Journey, was a guitar duo with Vic Juris. He has Juris in tow on the current album and will feature him once more, along with Birelli Lagrene, on his next. Guess that's nothing to complain about, judging by what happens here.
The music consists of standards that seem to have no place to go, given the number of interpretations they have been subject to over the years. Yet this quartet adds a facet given the shape of the lineup. Continenza and Juris understand each other and filter moods and emotion judiciously. Attuned as they are to the concepts of the tunes, they are spurred by the bass sensibility of Dominique Di Piazza and the rhythmic flair of Pietro Iodice. The quartet is in seamless cleave.
Any of the selections could bring in a feeling of well-being. The quietude of Bill Evans is given its due on "We Will Meet Again," where the theme is enunciated with an undercurrent of longing and then opened up comfortably with just a hint of swing. "Stella by Starlight" is seen through a lilting stance from Continenza after Di Piazza has pitched some curved lines. The upbeat mood is enhanced when Juris comes in, the two guitarists conversing in mellifluous tones. Juris then brings in his own vocabulary, rounded notes and a flurry riding the crest of the rhythm spelt by Iodice. The classical guitars come out for "Spain," a transparency of form informing the progression, the welter of one raining down against the chunky chords of the other as they keep it well within the cast of a spell.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.