Further Adventures Review
Just Jazz Guitar Magazine, Aug. 2008
If you read the liner insert of John Carlini’s CD, Further Adventures, you’ll find a timeline that chronicles a pro career with truly impressive and varied credentials. His musical conjugations range from classical piano as a youngster to an early affinity for Earl Scruggs and later, David Grisman’s “Dawg” music, a hitch in the service with the Navy Band, an education at Berklee and eventually the guitar chair with the show, Grease. In a formative thirty years, Carlini investigated a number of music styles that ranged literally from bluegrass to Broadway. And along the way, he hung out with such notables as Gary Burton, Herb Pomeroy, Bill Leavitt and Mick Goodrick. And then there was David Grisman again, whom he ran into after replacing Jerry Garcia in the Great American Music Band, a precursor to The David Grisman Quintet.
The creds go on, but one of the nice by-products of Carlini’s story is this splendid jazz guitar album. And although this is indeed jazz interpretation, the material, like Carlini himself, is diverse in style. There are standard jazz tunes such as “Days of Wine and Roses”, “Autumn in New York”, and a killer version of Parker’s “Donna Lee”. But a major standout is bluegrass legend Jimmy Martin’s “Ocean of Diamonds”, a very hip choice that’s seldom, maybe never before, explored as a jazz waltz. But Carlini obviously knows a great melody when he hears one. Other standouts are Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now”, and a unique arrangement of Debussy’s “Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum”, which nicely showcases the guitarist’s command of the instrument.
In short, there’s nothing here not to like. Carlini’s selection of tunes is excellent and his reharmonizations are sophisticated, often lush and always interesting. And you’ll hear him employ dropped bass strings and tunings that yield a spacious resonance, along with a touch that evokes a kinetic, sometimes unamplified-sounding tone.
I have long believed that both bluegrass and jazz manifest more improvisational virtuosi than any other form of music with the possible exception of East Indian ragas. There are bluegrass players who are every bit as inventive as any jazz musician, and I’ve often thought that both forms would be richer with more musical integration between them. Certainly John Carlini covers that ground while showing earnest respect to whichever music genere he chooses. Highly
Reviewed by Jim Carlton
Used with permission of Just Jazz Guitar Magazine
Further Adventures Review:
Vintage Guitar Magazine October, 2007
A batch of great songs performed in a trio setting, and on first listen you notice Carlini’s versatility and sense of taste.
The opener, “Bolivia”, is perfect and hints to where we’re going; its lovely solo-chord intro gives way to a gliding, effortless Latin feel that shows up again on cuts like Jobim’s “Chega de Saudade”. Before Carlini is through, he hits pop melody beauty with Henry Mancini’s “Days of Wine and Roses” and the classic “Mona Lisa”, which defines light swing. His bop chops get a workout on Charlie Parker’s “Donna Lee”. Over and over, Carlini proves adept at ballads on cuts like “Autumn In New York”. His chord soloing is marvelous and he shows off his harmonic skills. His lovely and timely “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans” is a musical ode to that city.
Going far afield, Debussy’s “Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum” gets a whimsical treatment, and finally, out of nowhere comes a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now”, which shouldn’t fit, but after a statement of the melody, John and the boys turn into a lovely pop/jazz tune that works beautifully. - JH
Used with permission of Vintage Guitar Magazine
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