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Robert Baglione: Positive Charge

Proof positive that this is a musician’s project comes with “Bagabob,” written by tenor saxophonist Carl Coan. Coan gets his chance to show his chops, but only after Tom Hipskind’s meticulous two-and-a-half minute drum solo. That’s a compelling example of teamwork on Chicago guitarist Robert Baglione’s hard-charging mix of fusion and bop with a hearty dollop of jam-band ethos.

Baglione’s edgy electric guitar rides over the playing of his band, which includes Victor Wooten on bass and Joseph Wooten and Leandro Lopez Varady on keys and synth. Classic fusion jamming is the theme, but when Baglione takes time to breathe and slow things down is when the music shines. On the late Mongo Santamaria’s “Afro Blue,” for example, Baglione tones down its Latin aspects to bring a fresh shine to the classic. Bassist Bill Dickens ensures it’s memorable by pounding away on a seven-string bass-and rest assured he uses each one. Also compelling are Baglione’s angular, sexy guitar lines à la Jeff Beck on “The Undecided” and his smooth classical guitar on the relaxing “Green Miles.”

Positive Charge may only get heard by jazz cats in the audience when Baglione plays his frequent gigs around the Windy City, but it’s worth wider listening by those seeking a taste of meaty fusion.

Originally Published