Richie Summa

Tear It Down

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Attorney/guitarist Richie Summa's second album continues down the same mainstream road as his first, this time with a play list of originals and jazz tunes, mostly by other guitarists, all performed with skill and taste. This time around, Summa has decided not to include any vocalizing. Too bad, since he has a good voice that relies on subtleness rather than power. It's the same way with his guitar. His approach is pleasingly straightforward without much embellishing. His respect for the melody is obvious even when he is improvising. He also has sufficient intuition to know when enough is enough by not artificially extending the length of a tune beyond the limits of interest. Summa honors a diverse list of guitar players on this CD by including their compositions, including Wes Montgomery, Pat Martino, and Jose Feliciano. The contributions to his career by his teacher and mentor, San Salvador, are recognized with "Blues for Sal." His soothing ballad "Until Sunrise (A Song for Poppy)" is one of the premier tracks on the CD. Here the amps are turned down with the result that there is a clean-cut expression of the melody. Even on upbeat material, such as "Tear It Down," Summa's objective is to expose all nuances of the song rather than demonstrating how fast he can play or how many chords he gets from his box. There is excellent piano on this track by Manuel Valera. Scott McQuade's piano gets quality time on "On the Stairs." The other members of the rhythm section, drummer Leon Anderson and bassist Burt Wolff, are in full accord with Summa's lower key approach and support him accordingly. The entire session has a feel of creative spontaneity which will please admirers of classic jazz guitar. Recommended.

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