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Denny Jiosa: Inner Voices

In the wrong setting, guitarist Denny Jiosa’s propensity for ultra-smooth, notey runs in the high register could come across as cold or detached. However, for the most part Inner Voices (Blue Orchid 2021-2; 49:23) matches his lead voice with percussive arrangements and effects that lend emotion to his simple melodic hooks. The percussive setting of “Lights of the City” lends an urban underpinning to a conversation between bent-note guitar and mute trumpet, for example, and the dark, spare background of the “The Last Goodbye” renders his high melody pretty and spacious. Similarly, the rich, gospel vocal harmonies of “Selah” bring a needed soulful layer to a somewhat glittery track. A few other pieces here would have benefitted from a little paring down, as Jiosa’s light leads are sometimes covered by overbearing keyboard threads – but for the most part, the guitarist has found meaty complements and contrasts to his own high-toned voice.

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