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Tony Purrone: Rascality

Tony Purrone is a guitarist capable of blindingly fast single-note displays. But before you dismiss him out of hand as just another one-dimensional wonder, it’s important to know that his musical abilities run deep and encompass musicality, creativity and the ability to swing, traits he amply displays on Rascality, a trio outing with electric bassist Dave Anderson and drummer Thierry Arpino.

Not a composer per se, Purrone nevertheless has a knack for arranging tunes in a way that makes them all his own. For instance, instead of tackling the ubiquitous chestnut “Body and Soul” in the usual way, he begins with a moody single-note counter melody, interjects dissonant harmonies and only occasionally references the melody. The upshot is a never-heard-before interpretation that leaves most renditions far behind while remaining valid in its own right. In contrast, he treats Wayne Shorter’s “12 More Bars to Go” pretty much as the funky workout it is, using it as a framework for suspending myriad phrases that are sometimes angular, sometimes blistering. Other highlights include a funky reworking of “Blue in Green” and Miles Davis’ “Petits Machins,” which freely builds in intensity as he ranges far and wide over its musical landscape.

It should be understood that while Purrone does possess awesome skills, he doesn’t overly lean on them. He usually exercises restraint, calling upon them when they fit into his emotional and conceptional scheme.

Originally Published