Bill DeArango

Anything Went

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Guitarist Bill DeArango is best known for participating on a classic Dizzy Gillespie combo date back in 1946, taking such advanced solos that it almost seemed as if he was playing his guitar backwards. Remarkably little has been heard from DeArango since, with only four obscure recordings made since 1954 before this 1993 CD (which was released in 1996). DeArango -- who has spent years living in his hometown of Cleveland making local gigs, teaching, and running a music store -- was never a revivalist. As this CD shows, he kept up with current trends and was quite familiar with up-to-date electronic devices. Tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano, bassist Ed Schuller, and drummer George Schuller are strong assets on this set, which has four brief guitar-tenor duets, four hornless trio pieces, and three numbers featuring the full quartet. With the exception of three standards and Ed Schuller's lyrical "Song for D," the performances are all free-form improvisations with DeArango often distorting his sound (à la Bill Frisell). While not everything works (the duets are generally too brief and some songs end inconclusively), there are plenty of fireworks and heated moments. It is rewarding not only to have Bill DeArango back on record again, but to hear a veteran of the bop era playing such adventurous music a half-century later.

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