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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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JOHN TROPEA

Gotcha Rhythm Right Here

STP RECORDS 101

 

 

Gotcha Rhythm Right Here, Part 1

Black Eyed G’s

Soul Surfin’

7th Avenue South

Chili Wa Man

Always in My Heart

Side By Two

Bikini Beach

Les Is Moe’

NCY Direct 2014

Hip to the Hips

Gotcha Rhythm Right Here, Part 2

Boulevard Strut (bonus track)..


Personnel: Personnel (collective) – John Tropea: leader, composer, arranger, guitars; Chris Palmaro: Hammond B3 organ, piano, Fender Rhodes, bass, drums, strings, percussion; Bob Millikan: trumpet; Glenn Drewes: trumpet; Lew Soloff: trumpet, flugelhorn; Don Harris: trumpet; Randy Brecker: trumpet; Lou Marini: alto sax, flutes; Dave Mann: tenor sax; Bob Malach: tenor sax; Bill Harris: tenor, baritone sax; Roger Rosenberg: baritone sax; Dave Riekenberg: baritone sax; Scott Robinson: bass sax; Larry Farrell: trombone; Hanan Rubinstein: guitar; Neil Jason: bass; Will Lee: bass; Eric Udel: bass; Zev Katz: bass; Shawn Pelton: drums; Clint de Ganon: drums; Lee Finkelstein: drums; Cliff Almond: drums; Steve Gadd: drums; Keith Karlock: drums; Roger Squitero: percussion; Duke Gadd: percussion; Tommy McDonnell: percussion; James “D-Train” Williams: vocal (12); Rallybop: vocal (13)

STP RECORDS 101 [73:31]


Almost all the songs here are co-compositions by John Tropea and Chris Palmaro. Tropea is the guitarist-leader and Palmero the Hammond B3 and piano player. Their take is a loose-limbed, strongly rhythmic approach which generates plenty of excitement, not least when they are joined over the course of thirteen tracks by a veritable phalanx of guest artists.

They lay out their wares with the opening track, Gotcha Rhythm Right Here, Part 1, which is just a duo performance – guitar and Hammond, though there are overdubbed piano, bass and drum lines from Palmaro - full of funky lines and much zesty rhythmic drive. The only piece not to be one of their compositions is Leon Pendarvis’ Black Eyed G’s, on which he guests on piano; catchy, and well worth revisiting. Much of the spirit of the music is funk-based; 7th Avenue South has a strong filmic, Starsky and Hutch vibe and the funksville spine is mixed with soul and RnB aided by the many guests on brass and saxes. Vamp-soul rules on Chili Wa Man whilst Tropea plays a very pleasing guitar on the otherwise melodically undistinguished Always in my Heart. Side by Two starts as an intriguing evocation of down home Blues but soon segues into a more conventional jump blues with shuffle rhythm. The two most distinguished guests are brass men Lew Soloff and Randy Brecker but their presence is fleeting, which is a disappointment.

If there had been fewer guests and some more focused attention to standard repertoire arguably this interesting album could have headed a notch or three higher. As it is the brass and sax backing sections remain underused – the vast personnel listing should give you an idea as to the situation – and so too the soloists. Stand-out moments such as Palmaro’s funky piano stylings on Gotcha Rhythm Right Here, Part 2 could and should have joined by many more. Something of missed opportunity, then.

Jonathan Woolf



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