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January/February 2003

Thom Rotella
A Day in the Life
Trippin 'n' Rhythm

Thom Rotella is a guitarist with a fluid, Wes Montgomery-influenced sound, and A Day in the Life (Trippin' & Rhythm), is a collection of light yet very engaging smooth-jazz tunes.

Rotella opens the album with the title track, a gently grooving rendition of the Beatles classic. Rather than perform a paint-by-numbers version like many other smooth-jazz artists, he chooses to put his own stamp on it by establishing the familiar melody and then getting creative with it. On the dramatic "Baka," Rotella's rhythmic playing is set over tribal percussion, and the lively funk tune "A Different Story" features bouncy piano by keyboardist Roger Smith. Rotella's graceful acoustic-guitar work and Steve Madaio's muted trumpet set the mood on the dusky ballad "Candlelight," and Rotella's solo acoustic guitar showcase, "Day Song," is a bright, catchy delight. This isn't the most memorable collection of melodies you'll hear this year, but A Day In The Life is a very enjoyable, if a bit evanescent, recording.

Originally published in January/February 2003
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