Sleight of Hand

The Jimmy Bruno Trio

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Sleight of Hand Review

by Alex Henderson

Although Jimmy Bruno had been playing jazz much of his life, it wasn't until the guitarist was in his late 30s that he recorded his first session as leader, Sleight of Hand. This album is a fine example of a musician excelling by doing what he does best, which for Bruno, is hard bop and more hard bop. Since returning to his native Philadelphia from the West several years earlier, Bruno had been making bop his number one priority, and this CD (an inspired trio date employing Pete Colangelo on bass and Dr. Bruce Klauber on drums) demonstrates that he was enjoying that direction tremendously. Whether interpreting the standards "All The Things You Are" and "Stompin' At The Savoy" or tearing into exhilarating originals like "Egg Plant Pizza" and "Lionel's Hat," Bruno brings a definite urgency to the material. Another high point of the disc is Luiz Bonfa's "Manha De Caranval," which Bruno changes from a relaxed bossa nova to hard-driving Afro-Cuban jazz. After many years of paying the bills with non-jazz pursuits, the Philadelphian was doing exactly what he wanted -- and it showed.

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