Solo Guitar/Joe Diorio Trio: Live

Tom Greenland By

Sign in to view read count

Joe Diorio
Solo Guitar
Art of Life

Joe Diorio
Joe Diorio Trio: Live
Mel Bay

To call Joe Diorio a guitarist's guitarist is almost a back-handed compliment, a way of dooming him to obscurity. Having served as a sideman for illuminati such as Sonny Stitt, Stan Getz, Horace Silver and Freddie Hubbard, with chops and creativity to spare, going on to amass an impressive catalogue of 14 releases as a leader, Diorio is a vintage version of talent-deserving-wider- recognition.

1975's Solo Guitar, Diorio's debut date as a leader, is a good introduction to his oeuvre. Mostly solo tracks, with several multi-tracked "conversations with himself (à la Bill Evans' 1963 album) the menu is divided between standards and originals. Treatments of Chick Corea's "Windows and Django Reinhardt's "Nuages feature an expansive palette of chordal colors broken by lightning-fast flurries of serpentine single-note lines, liquid legatos ornamented with melodic curlicues and filigrees. The original tracks often exploit the open strings of the guitar, using them as modal anchor-points for improvisative constructions built on intervallic formulae; Diorio often seems to veer on the brink of painting himself into a corner as he permutates these melodic cells to their not-so-logical conclusions, then deftly lands on dry ground with a turn-of-phrase. Unfortunately, the guitar is not recorded to best advantage: the upper register sounds attenuated, while the low-range chord voicings tend to get muddied. Diorio's great strength is his ability to utilize the layout of the guitar to best advantage—without sounding guitaristic.

Live is the plectrist's latest release—a time-capsule of a 1991 live performance—and perhaps the finest recorded representation of his work to date. Working with his preferred compadres (bassist Bob Magnusson and drummer Jim Plank) in a San Diego hotel, this recording gives new meaning to the term "lounge music. The set consists of well-chiseled standards performed off-the-cuff with minimal preliminary bandstand chit-chat, the familiarity of the material and the familiality of the players creating a comfort cushion allowing, paradoxically, for maximum artistic freedom. Most of the numbers open with Diorio ruminating over the harmonic implications of the piece, fleshing out his thoughts in a variety of voicings, tones, textures and techniques with the fluency of a veteran master who has many options to draw on; he plays a lot of guitar without sounding like he's overplaying, comping for himself in the manner of Barney Kessel. Magnusson is the perfect foil, utilizing slapped staccatos and slow-sliding attacks that seem to arrive at the note just in time, while Plank corners every turn with them; unfortunately again, the recording doesn't do justice to the nuances of his drumkit sound.

Hopefully these two releases will stimulate renewed interest in Diorio's contributions to the improviser's art, respect he richly deserves.

Tracks & Personnel

Solo Guitar

Tracks: Windows; Nuages; Poem; Invitation; India; A Time for Love; Call to the Center; Without You.

Personnel: Joe Diorio: solo guitar.

Joe Diorio Trio: Live

Tracks: Lover Man; Corcovado; Green Dolphin Street; A Child is Born; Yesterdays; The Night Has a Thousand Eyes.

Personnel: Joe Diorio: guitar; Bab Magnusson: bass; Jim Plank: drums.


More Articles

Read Tim Motzer: Wandering the Depths of Space Multiple Reviews Tim Motzer: Wandering the Depths of Space
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 22, 2017
Read Cassette Plus Download Labels Multiple Reviews Cassette Plus Download Labels
by John Eyles
Published: May 3, 2017
Read Another Timbre’s Canadian Composers Series Multiple Reviews Another Timbre’s Canadian Composers Series
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2017
Read 440 Keys: A Batch of Piano Delights Multiple Reviews 440 Keys: A Batch of Piano Delights
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 21, 2017
Read Anat Cohen's Brazilian Bonanza: Outra Coisa and Rosa Dos Ventos Multiple Reviews Anat Cohen's Brazilian Bonanza: Outra Coisa and Rosa...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 17, 2017
Read Duke Ellington on Storyville Records Multiple Reviews Duke Ellington on Storyville Records
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 20, 2017
Read "Lee Morgan On Music Matters" Multiple Reviews Lee Morgan On Music Matters
by Greg Simmons
Published: March 6, 2017
Read "NendoDango Records: Reinventing Tradition" Multiple Reviews NendoDango Records: Reinventing Tradition
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 6, 2016
Read "Piano & More: Rich Halley 5, Casey Golden Trio, Jeff Denson Quartet, Fred Hersch Trio, Peter Erskine Trio, & Sirius Quartet" Multiple Reviews Piano & More: Rich Halley 5, Casey Golden Trio, Jeff...
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 23, 2016
Read "Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas" Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas
by Doug Collette
Published: January 14, 2017
Read "Duke Ellington on Storyville Records" Multiple Reviews Duke Ellington on Storyville Records
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 20, 2017
comments powered by Disqus

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!