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Guarna, Tom: Spirit Science

Tom Guarna has been a stalwart in the New York jazz scene for a number of years releasing his first album in 2005. Guarna’s most recent album titled Spirit Science, released in 2020, is his eighth overall and it is a superb example of modern jazz. Joining Guarna (electric and acoustic guitar) are Ben Wendel (tenor sax, bassoon), Aaron Parks (piano, Rhodes, synth), Joe Martin (bass) and Justin Faulkner (drums).

The music is understated at first glance, quite mellow overall, but below the surface there is much to dig into here. Throughout the disc the melodies are quite wonderful starting with the album opening “The Trion Re” beginning with a soundscape of gentle guitar, almost veering into new age territory, but do not let that scare you off as the musicianship is top notch. Before long, washes of Rhodes piano and an outstanding bass solo slowly unfolds. The guitar work borders on the sublime, notes and chords in a near perfect tandem, showcasing Guarna’s considerable talent. This leads to some tasty synth work, still retaining the feeling of serenity and calming moods. In “Platonic Solids” Rhodes piano and saxophone begin the piece and as the drumming picks up another tasty synth solo takes us home. It’s another gentle but riveting track, quite vibrant and complex. With “The Genesis Pattern” the off kilter rhythms add complexity as do the wonderful piano, sax and guitar solos. The title track has that feel good warmth, the slowly drifting melodies put one at ease as Guarna makes great use of his acoustic guitar. The bass solo is outstanding. The slowly meandering “A Reflection In A Reflection” is dominated by Wendel’s fantastic bassoon play but Faulkner’s work behind the kit also deserves special mention.

Sometimes romantic, with hints of old school nostalgia and other times thoroughly modern, Spirit Science boasts great jazz throughout its nine tracks. An album I highly recommend.

Get Together (2005)
Out From The Underground (2006)
Wingspan (2007)
Major Minor (2009)
Bittersweet (2011)
Rush (2014)
The Wishing Stones (2017)
Spirit Science (2020)

Track Listing:
1. The Trion Re (6:51)
2. Platonic Solids (6:15)
3. The Genesis Pattern (7:30)
4. Spirit Science (8:05)
5. Two Circles (6:47)
6. A Reflection In A Reflection (for Kofi Burbridge) (7:16)
7. Metatron’s Cube (6:41)
8. Source (8:51)
9. Lullaby For Lena (3:18)

Added: February 20th 2021
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 424
Language: english

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