There's very good reason USC hired Bruce Forman to fill the gigantic shoes of Joe Diorio, namely the fact that he plays like a demon, and from an old school mastery to boot. Ya might recall the FAME Cow Bop review (here), in which Forman grabbed some Django chops and swung like crazy along the mesquite skyline. In this one, he trades up for a long session of technical mastery a la Joe Pass, Jim Hall, Herb Ellis, even some Gabor Szabó (Sea Sweet), among others. Yep, this is pure trio heaven, emphasis on guitar but with some great bass from Gabe Noel, who can dance the obtuse periphery when he wants, and susurrant drumming from Jake Reed, the ground floor upon which the two axehandlers tread their paces.
Forman has provided music in three Clint Eastwood movies, appeared at the Monterey Jazz Fest 20 times (!) and, well, I don't have enough room to cite all his many honors and sit-ins, so suffice it to say the guy knows what to do with that pick and those six strings…and then some. Whether it's the slo-bop of Blue Jake or the bouncy convolutions of Underdog, with it's Bewitched intro, or the angular chords-n-runs trade-offs of Tassajara Turnaround, what you get is straight-up honest no bullshit playing. The guy indulges only a slightly amplified electric and nothing but pure unvarnished skill in a format that's monumentally unforgiving of even the slightest errors. None of that occurs here in the least.
Instead you get the kind of workouts that inspire people to take up the guitar in the hopes of just approximating this kind of polish one day—either that or the sheer bravado daunts 'em that they'll never be able to hold a candle to the picker's scary-good acumen and thus content themselves to rapt listenership (count me among the latter!). So, to those looking for the next Jimmy Page or Curt Cobain, look elsewhere, but if you want to hear what kinda musicians cats like Eddie van Halen listen to when no one's around, this is the place. This style of music is ever rarer, but when it's encountered, anyone with a true love of guitar sits down entranced, drinking it in by the cup, the bottle, and the barrel.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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