All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

366

Twangorama: Twangorama

Craig M. Cortello By

Sign in to view read count
Somewhere on the periphery where progressive rock meets fusion comes this CD that merges the talents of three of the most prolific and versatile guitarists of the New Orleans music scene. It is perhaps a meeting of the minds, a display of mutual respect for four decades of fretboard wizardry, and a callout to the world what New Orleanians have known for years—the talents of Jimmy Robinson, Phil deGruy, and Cranston Clements deserve a larger stage, and this Twangorama coming out party just might be the catalyst in that ascension.

Jimmy Robinson has been the front man for the progressive rock band Woodenhead for more than three decades. The band has hovered in the chasm between critical acclaim and limited commercial success throughout most of that period.

Phil deGruy has garnered both praise and astonishment from elite guitar players for his mastery of his unique "guitarp," a hybrid guitar/harp instrument that adds ten harp-like strings to a seven-string axe. The instrument provides a playground for the harmonics that deGruy has perfected after being influenced early in his career by sporadic study sessions with Lenny Breau.

Cranston Clements has a guitar resume that reads like a laundry list, including performances with Dr. John, Maria Muldaur, Boz Scaggs, Ellis Marsalis, Irma Thomas, the Neville Brothers, and Allen Toussaint.

Rhythm section veterans Paul Clement (bass) and Mark Whitaker (drums) join Robinson in pulling double duty (members of both Twangorama and Woodenhead), making it convenient to allow both bands to occasionally share the same stage by interchanging a few members.

Twangorama is a well-balanced collection of a dozen instrumental tracks, primarily original material crafted individually or collectively by the band's guitar masters. "Mode Rage" is a progressive and eclectic track and a collaborative writing effort by the three lead men. Robinson's "Son of Samba" is one of several tracks that display the Latin influences that have helped shape the band. The Clements-penned "Creature of the House" is a vigorous notation rock number that is perhaps the most mainstream track by the combo. "Sew What" is a playful syncopated number that demonstrates deGruy's penchant for chordal diversity.

Three tracks are dedicated to solo instrumental efforts. Robinson and Clements break out the acoustic guitars for their numbers, ("Big Blue" and "Beck and Call" respectively), while deGruy returns to his mystical seventeen-string guitarp ("Who Can I Turn To/My Romance" medley).

You won't hear a greater demonstration of fret-board supremacy utilizing multiple players than this long-overdue debut recording by Twangorama. Versatility, harmonic mastery, chemistry, and precision are all up for audible consumption.

Robinson, deGruy, and Clements have sharpened their musical skills on a steady diet of working class gigs in pedestrian venues frequented by musical diehards of the Big Easy. With Twangorama, these accomplished and dedicated artists are banking on the idea that synergy is gold. Perhaps this CD will serve as the rainbow that leads Twangorama to that illustrious fortune.


Track Listing: Rat Dust; New Wine; Friday On My Mind; Mode Rage; Sew What; Big Blue; Creature Of The House; Whymn; Who Can I Turn To/My Romance; Son Of Samba; Beck And Call; Other Neighbors.

Personnel: Jimmy Robinson: guitars; Cranston Clements: guitars; Phil deGruy: guitars; Paul Clement: bass; Mark Whitaker: drums.

Title: Twangorama | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Twangorama

Twangorama

Self Produced
2007

buy

Related Articles

Read Rumah Batu CD/LP/Track Review
Rumah Batu
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 17, 2018
Read The Bat Swings! CD/LP/Track Review
The Bat Swings!
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Terrestrial CD/LP/Track Review
Terrestrial
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Get Somethin' CD/LP/Track Review
Get Somethin'
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Bansangu Orchestra CD/LP/Track Review
Bansangu Orchestra
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Smart Grid CD/LP/Track Review
Smart Grid
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 16, 2018
Read "Loveplaydance: 8 Scenes From The Floor" CD/LP/Track Review Loveplaydance: 8 Scenes From The Floor
by Chris May
Published: March 28, 2018
Read "A Tribute to Geri Allen" CD/LP/Track Review A Tribute to Geri Allen
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 1, 2018
Read "mono no aware" CD/LP/Track Review mono no aware
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 14, 2017
Read "Of Light and Shadows" CD/LP/Track Review Of Light and Shadows
by Phillip Woolever
Published: December 9, 2017
Read "En Corps Generation" CD/LP/Track Review En Corps Generation
by John Sharpe
Published: August 1, 2017
Read "Live from San Pedro" CD/LP/Track Review Live from San Pedro
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 3, 2018