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Tony Purrone Trio: Temperament

If CD players could operate at different speeds like turntables, you’d swear you’d mistakenly set yours to 45 or maybe even 78 given Purrone’s opener, a blistering, frantic reading of Victor Feldman’s “Joshua.” But there’s more to this six-string wonder than sheer velocity: He swings hard and sure while tantalizing the ear with ideas that range from eccentric circus moves to phrases that are hip and creative. While the introduction to Herbie Hancock’s “Tell Me a Bedtime Story” begins slow and airy, you know it’s pure deception given Purrone’s proclivities.

Settling into an infectious groove with his rhythm section (bassist Bob Bowen and drummer Ari Hoenig, who do a great job of locking into supersonic grooves), Purrone soon begins tattooing licks that are broken up by a host of elements, including rapidly strummed chords and open-string arpeggios. The album’s closer and arguable tour de force is Chick Corea’s “Litha,” which finds him using the full range of his instrument, effortlessly executing thorny wide intervals.

Maybe Purrone’s super-accelerated music isn’t for the faint of heart, but its underlying substance makes running the risk worthwhile.

Originally Published