Thursday, April 30, 2015

Andrew DiRuzza Quintet, Shapes and Analogies

There are so many good contemporary jazz outfits out there that it is a little mind-boggling to keep track. Not all of them come off with originality, though, so there can be a tendency for much of it to blend together in my head if I hear too many with a sort of common denominator approach. That is certainly not the case with guitarist Andrew DiRuzza and his quintet, as heard on their album Shapes and Analogies (self released).

The first thing that hit me listening was the quality of Andrew DiRuzza's tunes. They are harmonically swirling, very noteful in ways that have something of the unexpected in them. And that thoughtful creative line-spinning is very much a part of DiRuzza's solo style as well.

The band is very solid. DiRuzza guitar is a major factor, but there are very good contributions from Robert Espe on tenor, Michael Jarvey on piano and keys, Blake Shaw on bass and Marcelo Cardoso on drums. They negotiate DiRuzza's changes with imagination and bring the rhythmically churning swing to bear for a progressively convincing impact.

Espe's tenor and Jarvey's piano have nicely realized solo spots that are good expositions in themselves. It is DiRuzza's guitar work, though, that especially stands out. The lines motor forward fluidly and swingingly. But the note choices stand out as something original and very much of interest. He is a stylist in his own right.

The combination of compositional and guitar-improvisational lines work together to leave a definite impression. It is music that is something beyond mainstream yet in a changes-oriented framework. For that it is not predictable and in the end very rewarding to hear. The music stays in your head. DiRuzza is a soloist of stature and a composer of some very hip music. What better? I recommend you hear this one.

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