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Greg Pasenko: Something Old New Borrowed Blue

Jack Bowers By

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Greg Pasenko is a talented guitarist with an impressive resumé. There's no doubt about that. He also owns the Blujazz label, for which he records. So if he wants to sing as well as play, who's to say no?

Pasenko sings on all save two of the dozen selections on Something Old New Borrowed Blue, adds strings on a pair, a rhythm section (bassist Paul Martin, drummer Jack Mouse) on three others, violinist (and spouse) Diane Delin on a couple, tenor saxophonist Jim Massoth on "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans. The result is a decidedly mixed bag from which one is hard-pressed to derive a clear sense of purpose or continuity.

One of the stumbling blocks is that I would personally rather hear Pasenko play than sing. Others may disagree, but my overall impression is that the voice is nothing special, nor is the choice of material—and his efforts to get down like a blues singer are largely unconvincing. In other words, Pasenko will never be confused with Memphis Slim, Muddy Waters or Joe Williams. Even George Benson comes closer. He's more kindred in spirit to Bob Dorough, Mose Allison—or, to pluck a surprising name out of the hat, Jack Sheldon, another player who also sings.

The instrumental tracks ("Over the Rainbow, "My Romance ) are quite pleasing, but there are only two of them. Would that there were more. But hey, Pasenko's obviously having a good time, and as I said, it's his label, so he can do whatever pleases him. The question, of course, is whether it will please anyone else. Chances are it may, but the prospective listener should be advised that this is basically a vocal album with guitar, not the other way around.

Track Listing: Summertime; Embraceable You; Over the Rainbow; Little Wing; All Right, Okay, You Win; Fly Me to the Moon; Well You Needn

Personnel: Greg Pasenko: guitar, vocals; Diane Delin: violin (5, 9); Jim Massoth: tenor saxophone (11); Paul Martin: bass (5-7); Jack Mouse: drums (5-7); string quartet (4); string trio (9).

Title: Something Old New Borrowed Blue | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Blujazz Productions

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