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Tony Purrone: Temperament

C. Andrew Hovan By

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Let’s get right to the nitty gritty. To quote modern parlance, Tony Purrone is one of the “baddest” guitarists that you’ve probably never heard of, and in this case “bad” means something very good indeed. When Mark Gardner’s liners to this latest affair suggest that Purrone has “impeccable technique,” he’s surely engaging in some form of underestimation. Content in the past to play the role of sideman and teacher, the former being a role that he enjoyed for over a decade with Jimmy Heath, Purrone steps out rarely on his own and his three previous SteepleChase sides are the only artifacts that document his recorded work as a leader.

Much like his maiden voyage for SteepleChase, Set ‘em Up, which was a trio set, Temperament finds Purrone going it alone with just bass and drums. While his first date included veterans Eddie Gomez and Lenny White, this new trio features youngsters Bob Bowen and Ari Hoenig and it’s obvious that their presence brings out the finest facets of the guitarist’s personality. For instance, even though Purrone’s always been a speed demon, pieces such as “ESP” and “Joshua” are taken at a heady clip. In the case of “Joshua,” by tune’s end it sounds like things are winding down and then comes this clamor of up-tempo madness, with Bowen and Hoenig keeping up with every twist and turn.

The legacies of Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Chick Corea seem to form a thread that runs through this work; there are two cuts apiece from Corea and Shorter, and one from Hancock. If you’re not familiar with Purrone’s work this is as good a place to start as any and if you are already a fan you’ll have to add this to one to your collection. Enough said!


Track Listing: Joshua, But Beautiful, Tell Me a Bedtime Story, Three In One, ESP, Bossa, Fee Fi Fo Fum, Litha

Personnel: Tony Purrone- guitar, Bob Bowen- bass, Ari Hoenig- drums

Title: Temperament | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: SteepleChase Records


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