A really well integrated guitar duo can often outdo quartets such as, oh, the L.A. Guitar Quartet, whose arrangements frequently are lackluster or leave the players stepping on each other's feet…er, frets. The Buskers are just such a superior twosome. Eugenio Polacchini and Mateo Minozzi present, in their own satirical words, "unconventional new snob jazz ideas" that are anything but snobby, instead bright and energetic, playful and intelligent, as well as, yes, unconventional (in the sense of extending interplay, trade-offs, deviations) and lightly fusionized—in other words, everything you'd hoped to hear when laying hands on the LAGQ, whose fidelity to the moribundities of the classical realm tend to smother.
The Bruskers canon is a book of jazz standards and not-so-standards, plus a cut written by Polacchini. Latinate rhythms predominate as the seasoning of choice, thus we hear Bonfa's immortal Black Orpheus and Velazquez's Besame Mucho while bouncing over to the style Al Di Meola took when forsaking his Return to Forever days—travel, in other words, to world musics, though there's quite a same degree of the ingenuity shown in Guitar Sketch that was demonstrated in the work Al did with McLaughlin and DeLucia as well. Every so often, Kessell and Herb Ellis pop up, as in Little Piece in C for U, but I suspect Polacchini & Minozzi are rounded in their listening diets, as I hear Coryell, Byrd, Catherine, Hall, and others, even hot jazz (All of Me).
The recording of Guitar Sketch is absolutely crystalline, every single note pure and undistorted, shining and effervescent, and the two gents' approach is damn near that of jam bands but with a finessy knowingness most such ensembles are thoroughly incapable of, hence my reference to light fusion (which, frankly, is here more than light but not of the wild 70s Brit fusioneers or Miles). The balance of the core of the originals when weighed against the pair's interpretations is engrossing and striking. Not Tomorrow, should he hear it, will delight Ralph Towner, whose unique posture is well echoed here, and Take 5 departs significantly from the charts while adding a page to the song's immortality…but then, every cut of Sketch is a finely faceted diamond of modern craft and intelligence.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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