Hoo-boy!, if you like hot jazz, gypsy refrains, and Balkan ballads, I've got just the ticket. John Jorgenson is a giant in the field and respected by such figures as Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Luciano Pavarotti, Elton John, and many many others. This is his quintet's second CD, and it's a 13-spot of great tracks. Co-released with a disc of orchestral musics (here), it rounds out guitar playing acumen nicely. Here, however, Jorgenson picks up the bouzouki, clarinet, and soprano sax as well, not to mention singing.
Flanked by violin, bass, percussion, and a rhythm guitar, the guy possesses a smooth but smokin' rhythm section to instrumentally dance atop, especially in cuts like Mediterranean Blues, a song rendered with consummate brio, written by rhythm guitarist Kevin Nolan. If Jorgenson's the Reinhardt in this band, then Jason Anick is his Grapelli, duetting in contrasting lines and matched duel runs. But, man, can John ever play that sax!, shown in the follower, Souvenirs des nos Peres, slinky and sassy, an alley cat proudly strutting through the night boulevards of gay Paree.
Though Edvard Grieg was a modern classical composer, Jorgenson takes him a step further in a version of Norwegian Dance, now stripped down to its essence and seasoned with airier continental spice also hinting of Bartok and, in the finale, a taste of Rodrigo. Ah, but catch his version of Django's Hungaria a couple cuts later; holy sweet Marie, what a liquid tornado! From the cyclonic to the largo'ed sublime, there's a lot to revel in here.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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