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Monday, September 30, 2013

CD Review: Frank Potenza Quartet - For Joe.

Frank Potenza, John Pisano (gtr); Jim Hughart (bs); Colin Bailey (dms).
(Review by Roly V.)
When you listen to a new CD and feel compelled to listen to it over and over, it must be a good one!
Guitarist Frank Potenza is a Joe Pass protégée who has gone on to work with many jazz luminaries among them Dizzy Gillespie, James Moody and Mose Allison. You can see why – he has subtle accompaniment skills, is capable of exciting yet lyrical improvisations and all executed with a gorgeous, singing tone.
On this recording, as the title implies a tribute to the late Joe Pass, he joins with the very players who were with Pass when he made the classic For Django album back in 1964. Fellow guitarist John Pisano is a seasoned veteran, a much admired player's player, who has worked with many top international artists. Bassist Jim Hughart and drummer Colin Bailey complete the quartet. All are wonderful sympathetic, unselfish, listening rhythm section players who must be a joy to work with. The four support each other in a delightful way all contributing to a jazz guitar CD that must stand with the best around.
The style is essentially bebop and there is more than a hint of Pass in Potenza's playing, but he is no copyist. Pisano too has a fair amount of solo opportunity and there are some delightful contrapuntal exchanges between the two, the intro to Earl Hines' Rosetta in particular.
Difficult to pick out high points in a CD of such overall high standard. There are two very nice colla voce intros from Potenza to For Django, the well known Pass composition, and Ellington's Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me. Both guitarists enjoy a tear up on another Pass composition Catch Me and there is a lovely samba, Voce by Menescal/Boscoli. Pisano plays the head on his own tune Blues for Joe.
I think this CD will appeal to anyone interested in high class jazz guitar in the Joe Pass tradition but more than that, to anyone who simply appreciates beautifully played jazz whatever the instrumentation. No doubt whatsoever – Joe would have a big smile of approval.
Frank Potenza Quartet - For Joe is available on Capri Records.
Roly.

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