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John Colianni Quintet: On Target

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Louis Armstrong said that the faster the tempo, the more he could relax, a maxim that certainly applies to this love letter to the swing era. The longtime pianist in the Les Paul Trio, John Colianni boasts a sense of repose that only comes with serious technical virtuosity. With 14 muscular tracks, all standards or originals that sound like standards, interpreted by Colianni’s two-guitar quintet, the group’s sophomore album clocks in at a slender 42 minutes. All but one cut are under four minutes (it comes in at 4:06), and half are under three.

Colianni is used to keeping it short and sweet-he cut his teeth with Lionel Hampton, Mel Tormé and Paul-but he makes up for it by playing in double time. Larry Coryell gave him the moniker “Johnny Chops,” and with good reason: Trying to keep up with Colianni would be futile for almost any player; better to just go along for the ride.

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