Tom Principato / Danny Gatton

Blazing Telecasters

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"Blazing" is just the right word for this live set with blues guitar hotshot Tom Principato, who played on and off with Gatton through 1984. This is the resulting snapshot that Principato reissued several years later on his own Powerhouse label (and remains available by mail-order there, regardless of its ongoing demand as an Internet auction item). Principato's blues-oriented style -- which also draws on elements of jazz, jump blues, and swing -- pushed Gatton beyond the peaks he'd achieved with his Redneck Jazz Explosion, and the '50s- and '60s-style explorations of Unfinished Business. This guitar summit meeting, then, inspired some unlikely choices -- such as a countrified take on Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right." Other highlights include "Honey Hush (Talkin' Woman)," which features some sizzling exchanges between both guitarists, and a Latin-oriented swing into Les Baxter's "Quiet Village," where everyone pulls off inspired soloing (except drummer Robbie Magruder). There's a bright reading of the jazz standard "Cherokee," which provides an appropriate contrast to the mellow fusion of Principato's "If You Only Knew" and "Been 'N' Gone." Guitar enthusiasts will appreciate Principato's notation of who's soloing when, as well as the photos of its featured players hamming for the camera (note the visual reference to one of Gatton's favorite concert tricks: using a beer bottle for a slide). All the players are in outstanding form, and this is definitely among the most absorbing of all Gatton's one-off projects.

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