Fretless guitarist Jack Mazzenga goes to town on this
rollicking instrumental disc, ably backed by bassist
Jim Petti and drummer Michael Thompson, and
joined on three tracks by fellow fretless virtuosi Neil
Haverstick and Ned Evett. Although the 15 tunes are
rooted in various idioms—hard rock, country rock, blues, R&B, surf, etc.—
the heavily caffeinated arrangements and Mazzenga’s fiery licks and edgy
tones provide requisite stylistic identity. And, while aspects of the guitarist’s
phrasing and ornamentation clearly stem from a fingerboard unfettered
by frets, his approach is refreshingly free of fretless antics. Highlights
include the horn-driven R&B workout “Cereal Killer” (featuring trumpeter
Mitch Goldman and tenor sax and flute man Joe Brown, with searing solos
by Evett and Haverstick), the white-hot and insanely angular lines on
“Lefthanded Compliment,” and the solo resonator piece “New Tax Blues.”
Jack Mazzenga Music.
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