Thursday, September 24, 2015

Bruce Forman Trio, The Book of Forman, Formanism Volume II

Well, if I might say, there is a guitarist named Bruce Forman and he should be given your attention. I didn't know him much from Adam until I was sent his trio recording, The Book of Forman, Formanism Volume II (B4Man-Music 104). I am surely glad I was.

Bruce is an extremely schooled, original force in the guitar-bop-jazz-and-beyond mainstream. The trio recording at hand finds him in the context of a game trio of the very celebrated drummer Martin Smitty Smith, who it is great to hear again here, and bassist Alex Frank, a key component in the success of this date.

The music alternates between some choice standards and some hip Forman originals.

Bruce is a player who has ingested all those cool chordal possibilities one can hear from the masters in a solo mode and made something of them, then come up with some great single-line creativity and combined the two for a sound that seems effortless and swings madly, yet is an original product that shows extreme ability and smarts, and reflects the great effort Bruce has no doubt put forward to obtain this level of mastery.

The influence game can be instructive at times. I suppose there's a bit of Wes Montgomery, Johnny Smith, Joe Pass, Jim Hall, Kenny Burrell, and others you could point to that have gone into Bruce's modern jazz style. But then he has taken it on so much as his own that calling on the forebears is more of a ritual than something to keep in your head while digging the music. It just blossoms outward as, indeed, "Formanism."

This is an important mainstream cat, a guitar master of today. And the trio puts together a very, very groovy set on this date. If you go for guitar excellence, just get this one and put it on!

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