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Phil DiPietro

I began my love affair with jazz during captivity in a prestigious New England prep school, swapping a modicum of notoriety as the school's only rock guitarist for a stint replete in mediocrity in my friendly, neighborhood jazz band. There, I specialized in pentatonic scales, avoid notes, wah-wah pedal and tastefully laying out on anything simultaneously involving a flat 7th and a sharp 13th. This was painless, given the band included the amazing Thomas Chapin. After gaining familiarity with the rich legacy of jazz guitar, I incisively mothballed the old Les Paul in favor of an electric bass, on which I was, thankfully, never forced to solo over changes in front of other people.

A lifelong Bostonian, I remain as plugged-in to the local and national scene as family, work and fanaticism can practically allow

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Jef Lee Johnson: It's Been So Long Since I've Seen with My Eyes

Read "Jef Lee Johnson: It's Been So Long Since I've Seen with My Eyes" reviewed by Phil DiPietro

[ Editor's Note: This 2002 article was republished in memory of Jef Lee Johnson who died at age 54 on January 28, 2013. ]Jef Lee Johnson is a true American original and a true American gift to the musical world. Guys like Jef are the embodiment of every reason to use the phrase, “He's ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Francesco Guaiana Triptyque: The Spoiled Tree

Read "The Spoiled Tree" reviewed by Phil DiPietro

Palermo has, in turns, been designated Italy's cultural, economic, and tourist capital. It has not heretofore been acknowledged for its avant-garde, solo acoustic, spontaneous improv, or modern jazz scenes. Through his consistent issuance of aural postcards from his Byzantine outpost, guitarist Francesco Guaiana has quietly emerged as the region's most gifted practitioner at all of these ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Jojo Mayer's Nerve: Prohibited Beats

Read "Prohibited Beats" reviewed by Phil DiPietro

The Moller Whip, the one-hand roll, the push and pull, the heel-toe--dance steps, candy bars, perhaps? No, they're the names of incredible drum techniques attributed to and perfected by charismatic Swiss drummer Jojo Mayer. If you want to know what these techniques are, explore the plethora of drum-centric websites or the demo clips on YouTube documenting ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Justin Vasquez: Triptych

Read "Triptych" reviewed by Phil DiPietro

Young saxophonist Justin Vasquez acquits himself assertively on this 2009 debut, adapting the model of the tough Texas tenors to his own assiduous Austin alto. But that convenient alliterative to Vasquez's lone star origins belies his true lineage in the modern, slashing altoist mold carved out by the likes of David Binney,Greg Osby, Steve Coleman and ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Kenosha Kid: Steamboat Bill, Jr

Read "Steamboat Bill, Jr" reviewed by Phil DiPietro

Guitarist Dan Nettles may still make his home where he grew up in Athens, Georgia, but musically he knows no bounds--geographical or otherwise. Neither, it seems, do the members of his far-flung collective; his Kenosha Kids, as it were. Listening to, among others, Athens' killing rhythm section of Jeff Reilly on drums and Neal Fountain on ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Romain Collin: The Rise and Fall of Pipokuhn

Read "The Rise and Fall of Pipokuhn" reviewed by Phil DiPietro

Romain Collin ushers in the promise of 2009 with an astonishingly mature and ambitious debut that secures him a placeholder in the continuing evolution of the grand tradition of the piano trio. While staking claim to the lineage of Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, and Brad Mehldau, Collin's work favorably contrasts to the modern-day Swedish school exemplified ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Sara Serpa: Praia

Read "Praia" reviewed by Phil DiPietro

Sara Serpa is a vocalist wielding an instrument as favorably unadorned and pure as any in jazz. She's the freshest vocalist on the scene at the moment, not just because she's new to it at age 28. It's certainly not because of the way she delivers a lyric, since there usually aren't any. Being from Portugal ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Andre Matos: Rosa-Shock

Read "Rosa-Shock" reviewed by Phil DiPietro

Andre Matos, at 27, is the latest young guitarist to take aim at the international jazz scene from the strategic port of Lisbon and its effervescent Tone of a Pitch imprint. Like his labelmates, Matos is a free thinker. He combines modern jazz with the attitude, mood and tinge of modern rock and creates ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

David Fiuczynski: KiF Express

Read "KiF Express" reviewed by Phil DiPietro

David “Fuze" Fiuczynski continues to obliterate the boundaries of modern-day electric guitar styles, pushing himself further forward into the “world" sounds, techniques, scales, and rhythms that now constitute his calling-card. Funk can be 4/4 or 11/8, tone distorted or bone dry, chords root-fifth crunchers or undeniably undecipherable . He can make a fretted guitar sound fretless, ...


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