Veteran jazz guitarist Cotsirilos’ latest record is a swinging set driven by his considerable chops and skill at composing and interpreting music. His bandmates, Robb Fisher (bass) and Ron Marabuto (drums), are the perfect match with their ability to follow their leader’s moves.
On “Good Wood,” Cotsirilos mixes chords and single notes to state the jumping melody. Like many of the songs here, it’s a swingfest. The style also dominates on “Franny’s Jump” and “Rosie’s Tune,” the latter finds Fisher stating the melody with the guitarist until Cotsirilos breaks into a clean, swinging solo pushed along by the rhythm section. Cover tunes supply some of the quieter moments; the pathos of “What Kind of Fool Am I?” is captured wonderfully by Cotsirilos’ unaccompanied acoustic guitar. Same goes for “Without a Song,” where the melody is stated with octaves and the improvisation is goosed perfectly by the rhythm section. The title cut is played on acoustic, giving a perfect mix of chords, single lines, and a memorable melody.
Past Present may not be groundbreaking, but Cotsirilos and his band proffer fine musicianship, memorable songs, and a soulful delivery that is missing from many traditional-jazz guitarists of his generation.
This article originally appeared in VG’s Oct. ’10 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.