Gianfranco Continenza: Dusting the Time

April 16, 2014

The music on this superb release by Italian guitarist Continenza references the best of early fusion—for example, Weather Report and John McLaughlin’s various incarnations—while simultaneously bringing lots of fresh ideas to the table. Accompanied by an array of extraordinary musicians—including hyper-bassist Michael Manring and tenor/soprano sax maestro Bob Mintzer—Continenza’s electric and nylon-string acoustic playing is unerringly elegant, tasteful, and appropriate, with nary a trace of the showboating frequently associated with fusion. Successfully balancing compositional sophistication with musical accessibility, headiness with heartfeltness, is no mean feat—and Continenza largely pulls it off. His cover of the Mahavishnu Orchestra’s “One Word” is also quite inventive, and provides a launching pad for a mind-blowing solo that doesn’t sound anything like McLaughlin, but would likely make him smile. Videoradio.

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