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Paul Bollenback

Paul Bollenback

Paul Bollenback, a thinking person’s jazz guitarist with a clean ‘n’ fat tone and a barrel full of chops, has been impressing listeners as a sideman and, increasingly, as a leader in recent years. But inquisitive minds want to know: Is he mainstream? Left-of-mainstream? Or a work-in-progress? Probably all of the above. Bollenback has been heard alongside saxists Gary Thomas, Gary Bartz, and especially as a commanding, critical 1/3 of Joey DeFrancesco’s organ trio. But, more and more, Bollenback is breaking out as a leader, now with three CDs out under his name, on the Dutch-based Challenge label, including the latest, Soul Grooves.

For a programmatic focus, Bollenback decided to interpret old Motown tunes, including material by Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding and Stevie Wonder. “That was stuff I was into when I was a kid, listening to WNEW in New York,” Bollenback says. “Being a kid, I didn’t think much about what it was or why it did what it did. You just listen, and dig it.”

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