Jimmy Bruno: Solo – Jazz Guitar Life CD Review

In the Jazz guitar world there are a few known guitar players who have taken the art of solo guitar playing to the extreme. Players like Joe Pass, George Van Eps, Tuck Andress, Martin Taylor, Lenny Breau and Robert Yelin (to name those who immediately come to mind) have all succeeded in establishing the guitar as a mini-orchestra whereby bass lines, chords, and melody/improvisation can all be played, sometimes simultaneously, in order to bring the listener the complete tune, unaccompanied, on one instrument. Well, we can now add a new name to this small list of talented musicians: Jimmy Bruno.

With the release of his first solo-guitar CD simply titled Solo, Jimmy Bruno delivers a dynamic and extraordinary album of solo-guitar music that is destined to become a classic in the annals of jazz guitar mythology akin to the “Virtuoso” series by Joe Pass.

From the first cut to the last, Jimmy Bruno provides almost an hour of unabashed solo-guitar music that showcases his immense talents not only as a player, but also as an arranger of intricate harmonic devices and melodic development. Almost everything gets thrown into the melting pot that is Jimmy Bruno’s musical identity. Strong and snappy bass line movement, embellished harmonies, chord substitutions, counterpoint, fleet fingered soloing, sweep picking, the works. And all this with the taste, maturity and vivaciousness one has come to expect from Jimmy Bruno.

Of course all of these characteristics are evident on each of the eleven standards and two originals that Bruno shares with us. From the lively and fleet-fingered “Have You Met Miss Jones”, “Joy Spring”, “Just Friends”, and “Night and Day” to the unhurried “Satin Doll”, ”The Toffelmire Band” and “Benny’s Tune” (the last two are Bruno’s own compositions) to the soft and thoughtful “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face”, “Darn That Dream”, “Misty” (check out the embellished harmonies on this tune) , “Stella By Starlight”, and “I’m in the Mood for Love”, to the all-out burn of “Giant Steps” (jaw dropping chops), Jimmy Bruno plays his a** off on every tune. And you can bet that he’s having a ball doing it, which is what it’s all about after all.

Solo is a CD that will of course appeal to Jazz Guitar players and fans everywhere, but it should also appeal to those fans of great music who may be “instrumentally challenged” because it is the wonderful selection of tunes that make the album just as much as Jimmy Bruno does. As Bruno states in the liner notes, “…my father taught me each tune on this CD. Although I didn’t play them the same way I did when I was ten years old, the spirit of the music- which he taught me to respect- is still in each tune.” Sounds like Jimmy Bruno has learned that lesson well.

Now if this wasn’t enough for you to want this CD badly, there’s more! Included on the CD is an enhanced feature component that you can access via your computer’s CD Rom. This added feature allows you to check out an interview with Jimmy Bruno, his discography, his bio, very cool pics of Jimmy’s guitar collection and home studio gear (including his new Sadowsky arch top which sounds wonderful), and four video excerpts of his DVD release Jimmy Bruno: Live at Chris’ Jazz Café Volume I. What a deal!

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