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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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Remembering Ol' Blue Eyes

Jazz Guitar Records 917



1. I’ll Remember April

2. Speak Low

3. It Was a Very Good Year

4. You Go to My Head

5. A Foggy Day

6. One for My Baby

7. Days of Wine and Roses

8. That’s Life

9. Softly as I Leave You

10. The Best is Yet to Come

11. I Get a Kick Out of You

12. All the Things You Are

13. I’ve Got You Under My Skin

14. Europa

Lou Volpe - Guitar, keyboards

Delmar Brown, Mel Davis, Onaje Allan Gumbs – Keyboards

Stanley Banks, Leo Traversa – Bass

Buddy Williams – Drums

Sipho Kunene - Drums (track 13)

Gary Fritz - Percussion.

I liked this album from the moment its first track kicked in, with an irresistible swing. Guitarist Lou Volpe is prominent, with a variety of sounds and techniques which embrace the blues and country music as well as jazz. He is brilliantly supported by a group of skilful musicians – notably drummer Buddy Williams, whose bright style enhances the rhythm of every track. Buddy is equally skilful in jazz, Latin-American and rock, providing appropriate backing for each song.

The excuse for this album is that it is a tribute to Frank Sinatra, although few of the songs were actually hits for Frank. Some tunes fit more readily into the category “Great American Songbook” than “Frank Sinatra Memorabilia”. But the pretext hardly matters. One can sit back and enjoy Lou’s virtuosity.

He is particularly a master of bent notes, single-note runs and using the varied sounds that a guitar is capable of. One for My Baby is a soulful blues, and All the Things You Are is taken at an unusually fast tempo. Lou also plays keyboards on such tracks as The Best is Yet to Come . Overdubbing allows him to play three tunes as solos, accompanying himself. The final solo is Carlos Santana’s Europa, which gets into the album because Lou dedicates it “to the brilliance of Sinatra”. Even if it is a weak excuse for the tune’s inclusion, Lou turns it into an eloquent statement about musical expertise.

Sinatra fans may not appreciate hearing their hero’s songs deconstructed in these ways, but others (including me) will find it fascinating to hear how Lou Volpe transforms each number. Others will simply enjoy Lou’s mastery of his instrument.

Tony Augarde

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