Nuclear fusion taken to a new level, Gianfranco Continenza is a six string wizard that should crash the American market with relative ease.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Italian takeout and in the best possible sense. Fusion slipped quietly into the jazz witness protection program here in the United States, Italy has Gianfranco Continenza. Artistic comparisons are tricky but thanks to limited exposure to a certain degree here in the States let me take a crack at it...Al Di Meola and Jeff Beck get in a bar fight. As a critic Italy has been a goldmine of talent and Gianfranco may well be their crowning jewel with the ability to touch your heart and set your hair on fire often captured in the same composition!
The all star collective of musical co-conspirators is most impressive with stellar performances turned in from Mark Egan, Bob Mintzer and Michael Manring. Far more than a one dimensional fusion shredder, Gianfranco's music does not transcend boundaries as much as it obliterates them. From a hard bop reggae riff "Swingin' Into Reggae" to full contact "Back To Beck" there is a seamless transition to a dialed in sonic fury that his contemporaries simply can not match. A dialed down "Things Could Change" only confirms a virtuoso like quality that allows Gianfranco to chart his own lyrical path less traveled unencumbered by self imposed limitations of styles and execution. There is a vibrant quality to the music, a harmonic heartbeat of discovery and adventure.
The American music market including main stream music publications practice cold war isolationism when it comes to welcoming European artists. Improvisational music has gone global, it is about passion. This is passion on a shiny silver disc...I have had the good fortune to review, meet and speak with some of the greatest guitarists of our time. This is one of them.
A tune from Dusting The Time Via You Tube
Tracks: Dusting The Time; Swingin' Into Reggae; Under My Fingers; Walkin' Your Way; Back To Beck; Things Could Change; Face The Truth; Mahavishnology; Dinner On Melrose Avenue; No Way Out; Red Clouds; One World; Moments Gone.