Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

12

Tom Guarna: The Wishing Stones

Friedrich Kunzmann By

Sign in to view read count
After having established himself amongst the leading modern Jazz-guitar voices with remarkably ambitious 2014 release Rush , Brooklyn-Born Tom Guarna returns leading an all-star quartet comprised of drummer Brian Blade, bassist John Patitucci and pianist John Cowherd on the inspired The Wishing Stones, sonically carrying forth what had defined the last record. While Rush saw Guarna leaving a comfort-zone which characterized previous releases, The Wishing Stones finds the guitarist building upon the modern guitar sounds and compositional structures, further developing the fusion-style and presenting more mature compositions. Where some highly technical arpeggios and off-branching themes had seemed misplaced on its predecessor, time has taught the already veteran guitarist more on the art of restraint, making this venture an outstanding demonstration of his skills as a composer, musician and innovator.

The opener is of somewhat teasing character: a warm guitar tone plays elegant lines in unison with piano over a calm harmonic progression, producing a mysterious atmosphere. Are we back in our comfort zone? The negation of that question follows immediately in "Song for Carabello." A tight 7/8 is established by stomping piano chords on the one, three, five and early seven while drum patterns constantly alternate, adding clever polyrhythmic layers. After a short introduction of the melody from a crying synth-guitar the song is put on hold, deconstructed by sharp digging into the piano keys on every beat. The 7/8 is then reestablished, though rhythmically and melodically transformed. The musicians subsequently alternate at soloing, Guarna naturally taking the lead with most impressive fluidity.

In the course of the album Guarna constantly switches up his guitar sound, alternating between a warmer— treble-and attack-low tone and more modern synth-oriented timbres, reminiscent of some of his contemporaries such as Jonathan Kreisberg or Kurt Rosenwinkel. It becomes clear his choice of tone isn't arbitrary or based on impulse but rather the logical and fitting next step, based on pace, harmonic structure and color of the piece in question; not meaning that every slower paced ballad gets the standard treatment, with "Moment=Eternity" being the perfect example of the contrary. After a long and sparsely arranged build-up carried by intimate conversations between all involved, the double bass shines with a striking monologue (the miraculous production responsible for half the beauty here) before it gives way to a dexterously executed solo from Guarna, highlighted by the low attack and late release of his guitar sound, bubbling up a waterfall while the quartet gathers a quiet storm in a dynamic build-up.

As a final comparison to its predecessor, the outstanding production of The Wishing Stones deserves mention as well. While exciting and quite innovative, Rush at times suffered from ill-placed arrangements, the piano in particular often feeling off and not integrated into the whole. Here on the other hand, the depth of the room fits the music perfectly and the distribution of the instruments in it is adequate, resulting in stunning clarity.

While maybe not quite as daring, the success lies within the smoothness and coherence that is The Wishing Stones.

Track Listing: Prelude; Song for Carabello; Surrender Song; Hope; Moment = Eternity; Unravel; Modules; The Wishing Stones; Deacon; Run Signal; Native Tongue.

Personnel: Tom Guarna: guitar; Jon Cowherd: piano, Fender Rhodes; John Patitucci: upright bass; Brian Blade: drums.

Title: The Wishing Stones | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Destiny Records

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Album Reviews
Extended Analysis
Interviews
Read more articles
The Wishing Stones

The Wishing Stones

Destiny Records
2017

buy
Rush

Rush

Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records
2015

buy
Tom Guarna: Rush

Tom Guarna: Rush

Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records
2014

buy

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Barriers Album Reviews
Barriers
By Karl Ackermann
February 16, 2019
Read Fractal Guitar Album Reviews
Fractal Guitar
By John Kelman
February 16, 2019
Read The Early Bird Gets Album Reviews
The Early Bird Gets
By Mark Corroto
February 16, 2019
Read The Newest Sound You Never Heard Album Reviews
The Newest Sound You Never Heard
By Jerome Wilson
February 16, 2019
Read Think Big: Like Me Album Reviews
Think Big: Like Me
By Paul Naser
February 16, 2019
Read Melodic Ornette Coleman: Piano Works XIII Album Reviews
Melodic Ornette Coleman: Piano Works XIII
By Karl Ackermann
February 15, 2019
Read Free Fall Album Reviews
Free Fall
By Peter Hoetjes
February 15, 2019