Bruce Arnold

Blue Eleven

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Bruce Arnold is a guitarist with a distinctive sound and a thoughtful and often introspective style. On this disc from MMC, Arnold alternates trio numbers (usually with Stomu Takeishi or Ratzo Harris on bass and Kirk Driscoll or Tony Moreno on drums) with unaccompanied solo interludes. All of the selections (including four "Variations" that are taken both solo and with a trio) are Arnold's originals and most develop quite slowly although the guitarist does show some fire on a few of the numbers (most notably "Drops"). Since there is plenty of improvising and the feeling of the blues is also present, this music is definitely jazz but it will probably also appeal to fans of ECM recordings, more adventurous new age listeners and even some rockers. Most of the originals are not all that memorable (the solo "Variations" tend to be quite dry and the closing spacey vocal piece "A Day in the Badlands" is definitely an acquired taste), but the music holds one's interest and the musicianship is impressive. A fine first effort.

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