Jimmy Bruno – Maplewood Avenue

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Jimmy Bruno is one of the best traditional jazz-guitar players around, constantly proving he intimately understands the instrument and idiom. Maplewood Avenue is the latest testament to his greatness.

Bruno sets it up as a get-together at his house, with Tony Miceli on vibes and Jeff Pedraz on bass. Just them, sittin’ and playin’, with no overdubs, and bass slapping and extraneous sounds adding to the intimacy.

Bruno’s playing is beyond reproach. Want solo? Check out “Jimmy’s House,” a lightning-fast swinger with Bruno obliterating the song (in a good way) with notes – not scale runs, but great, imaginative playing. Miceli adds fireworks of his own. That holds true on every track, where the two trade solos that are not only swinging, but imaginative, daring, and full of feel. They back each other with the skill of sharpshooters covering a best friend. Bruno’s comping lays the groundwork for Miceli on many a solo and offers textbook playing. When the two play in unison, their sound borders on pure nirvana. If guitar and vibes a la Tal Farlow and Red Norvo are your thing, you’ll dig this.


This article originally appeared in VG‘s June. ’08 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.