Two recent releases by Whaling City Sound records brings the jazz guitar to the front line in a modern setting.
Rale Micic brings his dark-toned guitar in a quartet setting with post bop artists Danny Grissett/p, Corcoran Holt/b and Johnathan Blake/dr, guys who have built up their chops with the likes of Jeremy Pelt and Tom Harrell.
Here, the rhythm section cuts deep as Blake creates a restless undercurrent on pieces like “Hotel Insomnia” and struts forward on “Sunrise.” Grissett’s piano touch sends ripples with Micic’s soft touch on”Jano” and does some rich work on”Color of the Sun.” There are a series of short intimate episodes interspersed that are so delightfully delicate that you wish they were more fully developed. “Nocturne” has subdued conversations between piano and guitar, while “Melody In A Mist” creates shadowy spaces. Micic isn’t above creating some effects with his guitar, joining in with Holt for some creative harmonies on “Afterparty,” and caresses the strings on “Late Call.” Mature musings.
Jay Azzolina brings together a pianoless quartet with Dino Govoni/ts, Adam Nussbaum/dr and Dave Zinno/b for a mix and match with electric and acoustic strings. Of the latter, a gentle ‘14” teams soft brushes with tender sepia pickings and “Lament for Michael Brecker” creates a misty mood with Govoni’s subdued tenor tribute. On electric guitar, Azzolina is liquid and rich on the peppy “Problem Child” and gets Sneaky Pete on “Jimmy’s Blues.” There’s some excellent rapport between Zinno and Azzolina on the funky line of “1 of 3” and everyone gets assertive while Govoni gets thick as sorghum on “ N.T.I.” Muscles are flexed and stretched here.
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