Yikes! Talk about your chops, Steve Trovato’s got ’em. Known best on the West Coast as an instructor (Studio Jazz Guitar at USC) and for his work on movie and TV themes, Trovato can certainly play jazz But don’t let the “J” word fool you; here he proves himself more than adept at pretty much anything you can think of.
For instance, if you like wild boogie with nasty, elastic guitar in the style of Danny Gatton, look no further than “D.G.’s Boogie.” It’s a great instrumental opener – and it’s only the beginning. “Knock, Knock, Knock” is a lightly swinging blues that lets Steve show how skillful he is at soloing around changes. The Django-esque “Dark Eyes” is next. “Squawkin'” is Tele heaven and covers a lot of ground, from typical country twang to a big fat, almost Gibson-esque country sound, to some Travis-style picking, and – for good measure – some Jimmy Bryant-sounding soloing to wrap things up. It’s the kind of tour de force you don’t often hear anymore.
There’s much more good stuff here, but for the sake of brevity, we’ll touch on a couple of covers. It’s hard to make “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” a guitar piece in this day and age, and make it interesting. But Trovato does just that. A beautiful, almost two-minute solo chord intro leads into some gorgeous Larry Carlton-style soloing that rounds out a wonderful take on this classic. And I never thought I’d hear a guitarist tackle Billy Joel’s “Root Beer Rag,” but Steve does it, and in sparkling style. It’s a single-line/fingerpicked masterpiece.
Plain and simple, Trovato is a great guitarist. You can score the CD at stevetrovato.com or Guitar9.com.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Jan. ’02 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.