Saturday, October 26, 2013

Eric Divito The Second Time Around Pioneer Jazz Collective 2013

Eric DiVito avoids the sophomore slump with an impressive outing in The Second Time Around!
Brent Black /
The debut release, Breaking The Ice was good but The Second Time Around is even better! Big Apple guitarist Eric DiVito seems to be comfortable in his own skin and unlike so many of his contemporaries he does not get in his own way on this open ended look at some timeless standards that are reinvented his way. Taking on the Great American Songbook is hard enough but toss in special guests such as Steve Wilson and Mavis Swan Poole and you have raised the bar of the predictable to a intimate level of harmonic exploration seldom heard.

DiVito seems to lay back during the majority of this release but not due to complacency with the material but instead he finds a new groove on some time tested classics. This is club jazz at its finest, intimate and incredibly warm. A guitar trio is the equivalent of tap dancing in a musical mine field, the addition of special guests saxophonist Steve Wilson and
vocalist Mavis Swan Poole add texture and depth to the music is the more eclectic side of the Great American Songbook. While "Skylark" is perhaps the most recognizable if not recorded work from Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer, Mavis Swan Poole does more of a deconstructed duet with Divito that breathes new life into this most iconic tune. Steve Wilson may well be the most underrated saxophonist today and his inspired work on the Divito orginal "2nd Story" sets the table for a delightful improvisational buffet from which to sample. The Second Time Around works consistently well from track to track as the air of predictability is replaced with a more focused excursion into some improvisational tunes that some may have simply forgotten or at least not heard performed this well. "Windows" from Chick Corea along with "Inner Urge" from Joe Henderson are two tunes that are dynamic melodic statements without the pretentiousness sometimes associated with these works.

This is a straight ahead effort where arrangements are masterful recreations and not mangled melodies leaving the listener to figure out the tune during perhaps the last eight bars. Bassist Corcoran Holt and drummer Alyssa Falk Verheyn move past the role of accompanists and into a singular harmonic train of thought along with Divito. Guitarists much like tenor players are compared on technical ability, speed, and lyrical intent. Divito scores high marks across the board. The debut Breaking The Ice was good, The Second Time Around shows flashes of brilliance from a young guitarist whose musical stock is now an arrow pointing straight up!
Tracks: 2nd Story; Windows; Skylark; Iris; Stella By Starlight; Autumn; Inner Urge; When Sunny Gets Blue; Sun Script; The Second Time Around.

Personnel: Eric Divito: Guitar; Corcoran Holt: Bass; Alyssa Falk Verheyn: Drums.
Special Guests: Steve Wilson: Alto Saxophone
Mavis Swan Poole: Vocals.