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Jimmy Bruno Trio: Live at Birdland – II

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A relentless swinger who thrives on breakneck tempos, Philadelphia’s Jimmy Bruno is one of the premier jazz guitarists on the scene. Having already proved his mettle in the studio with various Concord calling cards, Bruno unveiled his impressive fretboard prowess in a live setting on the first of this two-volume series from New York’s Birdland. Volume I featured Bruno going toe-to-toe with alto sax burner Bobby Watson. Volume II, also recorded in December of 1996, pairs him with the mellow-toned tenor man Scott Hamilton, recalling some of the same incendiary chemistry that Stan Getz and Jimmy Raney shared together during the early ’50s.

The set opens with the trio establishing an urgent vibe with brisk renditions of Bruno’s 12-bar blues “Reticulation” and Clifford Brown’s “Joy Spring.” “Chesapeake Blues” is a mellow, slow vehicle for some inspired and tasteful blue note work by Bruno while his virtuosic solo turn on “(I Can’t Give You) Anything but Love” allows him to explore the full range of his custom-made 7-string Benedetto guitar with deep walking bass lines and simultaneous chording, a la Joe Pass.

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