Joe Diorio

I Remember You: A Tribute to Wes Montgomery

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Guitarist Diorio knew Wes Montgomery and presents this tribute to his hero, but very little here sounds distinctly like Montgomery. It's all the brilliant leader in a variety of mostly trio settings, but duos and solos alternate on these twelve tracks. Bassist Steve LaSpina and drummer Steve Bagby are both underrated jazz men like Diorio, but together the three mesh well, and on the non-trio tracks prove they have something to say on their own.

As a triad on half the cuts, they easily swing the title cut, but Diorio pops off some impressive single improvised extrapolations off the straight melody. "Invitation" is outstanding as churning brushes and ostinato bass set up the guitarists galloping interpretations with Spanish inquisitions. The long ballad "In a Sentimental Mood" is fairly typical if not for the elongated notion, "Estate" simmers in bossa-based languidity, while "Lament" is a laid-back swing ballad, and the original "Monk-ing" clearly reflects Thelonious Monk's angular, up, down, and sideways approach as evoked by the witty Diorio. Inserted on every other tune are beautiful, patient guitar solos ("Reflections of Wes"), loose and free drum solos ("It's Rudimentary, Watson!"), or call and response guitar/drum duets ("More or Less"). LaSpina gets lots of solo space on the trio cuts, but he stands alone on the slow, contemplative "While You're Away" while chatting with Bagby on the counterpointed "The Two Faces of Steve." The finale is a spirited, boppish guitar/bass tandem on "Guess What?"

Diorio's unusual harmonic approach is prevalent throughout, but listen closely to LaSpina on this disc. They have a thing going on that supersedes the specter of Montgomery. Recommended.

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