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REVIEW: Standards, Vol. 1 by Dan Arcamone

“Rather play earlier standards from the Great American Songbook, Arcamone mostly plays jazz tunes from the 1960s including numbers from Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, and McCoy Tyner, along with a later song apiece by Pat Metheny and Allan Holdsworth.” — Jazz Artistry Now

Dan Arcamone (courtesy artist)

Artist: Dan Arcamone

Album: Standards, Vol. 1

Label: Artists Recording Collective (ARC)

Reviewed by Scott Yanow

Guitarist Dan Arcamone has a very individual style that is a bit difficult to describe. Like John Scofield (who he sounds nothing like), he has an electronic sound that would seem like a natural fit for fusion, but his improvisations are quite sophisticated and fit more into post-bop jazz. The tones that he gets out of his guitar synthesizer sometimes sound closer to a keyboard than a guitar, but his fluency, skill at bending notes, and general style is much more like a guitarist. Mostly active in the New England area, Mr. Arcamone has been leading stimulating albums since 2008 with Standards, Vol. 1 being at least his sixth.

For this consistently intriguing set, the guitarist is featured in a trio with bassist Rich Zurkowski and drummer Steve Pruitt. Rather play earlier standards from the Great American Songbook, Mr. Arcamone mostly plays jazz tunes from the 1960s including numbers from Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, and McCoy Tyner, along with a later song apiece by Pat Metheny and Allan Holdsworth. While one may be familiar with such songs as “Maiden Voyage,” “Little Sunflower” and “Inner Urge,” these versions sound much different than the famous recordings and could pass for brand new compositions.

Dan Arcamone (courtesy artist)

The instrumentation, with the guitar synthesizer in the lead, is one reason that Mr. Arcamone’s renditions are unique. But other more important reasons are the close interplay between the musicians, the willingness of these artists to stretch themselves and take the music in unexpected directions, and the consistently creative flow of ideas, particularly from the leader. Among the highlights is the general sound of the band on a concise version of “Maiden Voyage,” the complex rendition of “Fall,” the unexpected catchiness of “Witch Hunt,” the way that Mr. Arcamone draws out the beauty of the melody of “Little Sunflower,” and a rather spacey “Passion Dance.”

This is a thought-provoking set of adventurous 21st century electronic jazz that is full of surprises.

“This is a thought-provoking set of adventurous 21st century electronic jazz that is full of surprises.”

 — Jazz Artistry Now

1. Maiden Voyage – 3:56

2. Song For Bilbao – 4:48

3. Fall – 5:58

4. Witch Hunt – 4:59

5. Little Sunflower – 5:05

6. Inner Urge – 5:19

7. Passion Dance – 5:32

8. The Cure – 4:26

9. Gas Lamp Blues – 7:05

10. Naima – 5:01

ARTISTS

“The instrumentation, with the guitar synthesizer in the lead, is one reason that Mr. Arcamone’s renditions are unique. But other more important reasons are the close interplay between the musicians, the willingness of these artists to stretch themselves and take the music in unexpected directions, and the consistently creative flow of ideas, particularly from the leader.”

 — Jazz Artistry Now

Dan Arcamone, guitar

Rich Zurkowski, bass

Steve Pruitt, drums

RATING

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Mr. Yanow

The Jazz Artistry Now review of Whisper Of The Isolated Ones was written by Scott Yanow. Mr. Yanow has written 11 books on jazz, over 800 liner notes, and more than 20,000 recording reviews through the years. His writing has graced virtually all of the top jazz magazines and he is happy to be a featured contributor to Jazz Artistry Now.